Who Framed the Right?

When "logical" arguments against same-sex marriage break down, what is left?

Conservatives are now complaining that they’re losing the fight over same-sex marriage because the left has done a better job of framing the issue.

For instance, Rush Limbaugh said last week that conservatives lost control of the definition of marriage, while the liberal side “really excels at changing the language to benefit them politically, and they do it in such a way that a lot of people on our side have no idea what’s happened until it’s too late and the issue is already lost.”

Writing in National Review, Mona Charen makes a similar point: Liberals are winning by framing opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) as bigots: “the most potent argument in the SSM quiver is the race analogy. During oral argument at the Supreme Court, advocates argued (as they have elsewhere) that impairing the right of homosexuals to marry is analogous to proscribing interracial marriage. If that’s true, it’s game, set and match. If SSM is like interracial marriage, then the only possible motive for opposing it is bigotry.”

All of a sudden, conservatives are sounding a lot like George Lakoff—the liberal linguistics professor who gripes about the über-powerful message machine of the American right.

Conservatives, Lakoff says, “have a huge, very good operation, and they understand their own moral system... and they understand how to talk about it, and they are constantly updating their research on how best to express their ideas.” Those clever little devils!

But saying the other side wins simply because it frames the issue better is, in a way, saying it wins because voters are too stupid and gullible not to realize your own side is right. This might feel good, but it is a problem—because it allows you to avoid engaging the arguments other people find so persuasive.

Take the analogy between interracial marriage and gay marriage. It does not work simply because it has been repeated loudly and often. It works because it fits. If proponents of SSM went around claiming the argument against gay marriage sounds just like the argument for dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima, we’d all be scratching our heads. It’s an apples-to-aardvarks comparison.

The racial analogy, however, fits rather neatly—because the arguments against racial mixing and those against same-sex marriage sound so similar and work the same way. Both attempt to rebuff a demand for equal treatment by appealing to the Bible, natural law and 2,000 years of tradition (see this article for some examples).

Another reason SSM proponents have succeeded in portraying some opponents as homophobic is that, sorry, some of them really are homophobic. True, plenty are not: Many SSM foes oppose gay marriage out of sincere religious conviction, while simultaneously loving their gay and lesbian neighbors and wishing them well. But some of those who are not bigoted against gays might be leaving themselves open to that accusation by virtue of the fact that the nonbigoted arguments they present are so weak.

Example: A couple of months ago a writer at The Washington Post wondered how straight people could possibly think gay unions diminish the value of their own marriages. The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto took issue with this, claiming it was “a straw man. We’ve been following this debate for years, and we’ve never heard opponents claim that same-sex marriage would diminish or endanger their own marriages. Their arguments are based on morality, tradition and worries about the effects on the institution of marriage...”

Really? The argument, then, seems to be this: While gay marriage might not ever harm any individual straight marriage, it still damages the institution of marriage as a whole.

How, exactly, does it do this? Is there is some ontologically separate entity called Marriage that exists independent of all the marriages of all the couples in the world? There would have to be, according to the institution-of-marriage argument. But that makes no sense. After all, you would not say a virus “threatens humanity” if, in fact, no individual human person was ever harmed by the virus. Humanity is simply the sum of the humans in it. Nor could one reasonably contend “society” was harmed by the introduction of—oh, let’s say rock music—if nobody ever suffered any harm from rock ’n’ roll. If individual marriages do not suffer from the existence of gay marriage, then neither can “the institution of” marriage.

It’s this sort of foolishness that leads some proponents of same-sex marriage to question the motives of the other side. If you continue to defend a proposition with vehemence even when your rational arguments don’t hold up, then people can be excused for thinking you have other, less rational reasons for doing so.

This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It couldn't possibly be because the thrust of SoCon's argument was stomping their foot and crying false personal or cultural injury from the expanding of marriage benefits.

  • ||

    Oh noes, they engaged in KULTUR WAR and lost? So sad. Will any KULTUR WARRIORS take this as a lesson and realize how stupid it is? Absolutely not.

  • Tonio||

    ^Nailed it.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I'm going to need some extra popcorn.

  • fish||

    "How is my Marriage Hurting You?"

    It's not. Next question.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course, that question could be asked about a myriad of things from the "other side's" perspective. Or, from that matter, about a friggin' huge number of things from the libertarian perspective.

    So it's a stupid thing to say, since the sign-holder probably wants to regulate a shitload more stuff.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Positive rights are a continual battle of cultures. The layering of laws should never be applauded since it really focuses on turning society into a tyranny of the majority system...but I really do hate socons....so schadenfreude!

  • fish||

    So it's a stupid thing to say, since the sign-holder probably wants to regulate a shitload more stuff.

    You're probably right.....but until I know for sure I'll confine my response to the single issue.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, I understand. But I don't believe the signholder is ritually pure. UNCLEAN! OUTSIDER! ERROR! STER-I-LIZE!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    How is my marriage hurting you?

    Negative social externalities

    You have a duty to society to not get gay married with a gay and live in a state of cohabitative gayness.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    Gays can already get married. What they don't have is the violent force of the Federal Government dictating to others to award financial privileges to gays.

    A USSC robes ruling in favor of gays getting Social Security benefits paid at the higher rate of the deceased spouse affects all Americans, forcing higher than otherwise would be needed FICA rates.

    Gay marriage is only about legal standing equality for gays and not marriage equality at all, say for the polyamorous.

    If gays were legit about their "it's about love" claim, they would support granddads marrying grandsons, moms marrying daughters, first cousins marrying. After all, moms love their daughters, granddads love their grandsons, cousins love each other.

    No legit libertarian supports expanding the powers of government, expanding the privileges bestowed upon any group. No legit libertarian supports government bureaucrats imposing by force upon a people, privileges.

    Reasoners who support federally legalized gay marriage are way off-base and might as well become lefty Democrats.

  • SugarFree||

    That's an impressive litany of assumptions, fallacies and hysteria. Kudos.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    I'm no true Scotsman, but damned if he thinks he can take my skirt away.

  • JW||

    Nah, it's kernels of moonbattery, strung together like popcorn at Christmastime into one incoherent thought.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    That's an impressive litany of assumptions, fallacies and hysteria. Kudos.

    ~SugarFree

    Saying so doesn't make it so. Thanks for demonstrating to the world your argumentative prowess.

    Fucking nitwit.

  • ||

    ...Says the man who uses argument by dismissal repeatedly later.

    I know, I can't resist the temptation of tu quoque.

  • ||

    It's an eloquent summary of the grasping arguments of people against SSM.

  • ||

    "What they don't have is the violent force of the Federal Government dictating to others to award financial privileges to gays"

    Appeal to emotions, libertarian-style.

  • ||

    Funny you don't see anybody playing the "appeal to emotions" card on the "cop shot my dog" or "borders are immoral" threads though. Even though they use the exact same logic. Force of government is force of government. Coming from somebody who thinks the corporation is the most massive perpetration of violence against society by government, it's hilariously, deliciously ironic to see you supporting many of the same protections being extended to what effectively comes out to a 2 person version of the same fucking thing.

  • ||

    It's actually not ironic at all. I would oppose and support repealing any laws saying "Black people can't start a legal corporation" even though I oppose the concept of incorporation. Equal protections are my ultimate goal but I'm willing to accept an immediate step in the right direction if I can't get there overnight.

    What "violent force" is involved with handing consenting adults a piece of paper, and how is a voluntary action "dictatorial"?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    No legit libertarian supports using the government as an agent of discrimination.

    Hey, this game is fun!

  • Smack MacDougal||

    Hey, you are starting to catch on to it. You might become a legit libertarian yet.

    Marriage status should not be basis for tax and subsidy laws. Having such discriminates against any individual who has not been conferred the legal privilege of that status.

  • ||

    See also: The Perfect Solution Fallacy.

    We cosmos generally agree with your conclusion that "marriage status should not be the basis for tax and subsidy laws", but that does not mean we must support discrimination as long as laws are based upon marriage.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    By your reasoning:

    In order to end discrimination, I abandoned my anti-discrimination principles.

    It became necessary to destroy libertarianism to save it.

    In order to save libertarianism, I abandoned my libertarian principles.

    Enjoy your Ben Tre and Bush, Jr. moments.

  • ||

    You are very talented at pitchforking straw men.

    I oppose both privileged statuses and discrimination to access said privileged statuses. If I can't have the former and thus the latter, the latter is the best case scenario in the interim.

    I don't support the existence of the limited liability privileged status of corporations. That does not mean I would support upholding a law saying "People of Greek heritage can't start a legal corporation."

    You can argue your perfect solution fallacy all day, but as falling short of perfection is the most likely outcome, I fail to see how ending the state's ability to arbitrarily discriminate regading access to the status is an abandonment of anti-discrimination principles or a destruction of libertarian principles.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    You are very talented at pitchforking straw men.

    ~ Proprietist

    Six and seven year olds are found to shout of things are as they say they are.

    Doubling down on discrimination can not end discrimination.

    Perfect Solution Fallacy is mere rhetoric. It's a fallacy to believe that such a phony concept is real.

    Ending discrimination with ease by doing the right act — decreeing marriage can not be the basis of tax, subsidy and welfare — could happen if people wanted it to happen.

    Instead, it seems that pro legalized privileges gay marriage fans argue either from a greed basis or from an emotional basis.

    The arguments go these ways:

    we want our living standards to rise at the expense of others — singles

    we want by de jure force everyone else to accept us (or my gay son or gay daughter), to decree that our preference for same-sex sex is normal, even though clearly, though natural, it is abnormal.

  • ||

    No, the arguments don't go those ways. I have never made those arguments, and your careless attribution of them is dismissable.

    Again, please answer my question: would you oppose repealing a law that bans specific configurations of individuals with certain biological or lifestyle characteristics from starting a corporation on the basis that the corporate entity receives legal privileges sole proprietorships don't?

    "even though clearly...it is abnormal."

    Seems you let your purportedly objective, anti-discriminatory mask slip there.

  • ||

    "As long as slavery already exists, everybody should be free to purchase and own slaves!"

    - Proprietist, 1835

    Perpetuating injustice by expanding access to it is as fucked up a way of dealing with injustice as I can possibly imagine. Particularly when remedying the injustice is so simple it could be accomplished with a handful of new laws and a couple changes to existing wording of the tax code - not exactly like passing a constitutional amendment and starting a 600k casualty war.

  • ||

    Yes, because slavery, the ultimate violation of natural rights and equal protections, is totally equivalent to state-privileged legal unions like marriage and incorporation? So close, but so far.

    Essentially your "principle" destroys any possibility of incremental change in a libertarian direction without attaining the perfect solution (which I also support). In essence, you let the legal perpetuation of additional injustices (unequal protections) remain as long as any other injustice exists.

  • po8crg||

    "Marriage status should not be basis for tax and subsidy laws."

    Agreed.

    Now, how does that principle affect my vote on Prop 8?

    If you're an elected politician, you get to vote on hundreds of issues every term. Every one of those is a yes/no vote; you don't get to take a third option. Sure, you can introduce an amendment, but when it's voted down, you're left with two choices.

    So, given that you can't yet get a majority for the abolition of marriage, which way do you vote on SSM?

  • Firstname||

    How is the US government hurting you?

    By legislating moral, health and social issues without compassion or logic at the behest of a handful of wealthy bigots.

    Next question.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberals are winning by framing opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) as bigots

    Well, yeah. I mean, it's the only explanation. There is no other explanation.
    The only possible reason why someone opposes redefining marriage is that they are a bigot. It's all about hating homosexuals. If you oppose SSM you are a bad person, and the only way you can prove that you are a good person is to support it.
    Just as the only possible reason why someone would oppose Obama is because they are racist. It's all about hating black people. If you oppose Obama you are a bad person, and the only possible way you can prove that you are a good person is to support him.

  • Tonio||

    Sore loser much, Sarc?

    These people went out of their way to mess with others. No sympathy.

    Had these people simply minded their own business they wouldn't be in this position.

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you oppose Obama? Because if you do then you are a racist. It's the only explanation. Why do you hate black people?

  • ||

    Keep digging, sarcasmic. Keep digging.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's the exact same logic.

    If you oppose this, then you are a that.
    The only way to prove you are not a that is to support this.

    Do you support Obama? No? Why do you hate black people?

  • jcw||

    it's the exact same logic, except with all the valid arguments present in one and absent in the other.

    Take a guess!

  • ||

    There are logical reasons to hate Obama besides his race.

    I'm still waiting to hear of a single logical and non-fallacious reason to oppose equal protections under current marriage-based laws.

    While I agree calling anyone opposed to SSM is either a bigot or irrational involves shifting the burden of proof (a fallacy), it's the most logical conclusion I fall upon using Occam's Razor.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm still waiting to hear of a single logical and non-fallacious reason to oppose equal protections under current marriage-based laws.

    I'm still waiting to hear a single logical and non-fallacious reason why redefining marriage is the only way to fix the problem of same sex couples being treated differently under the law.

    Yes I understand that they want to go around and say "We're married and the government recognizes it! Now we're really married because government says so! Yay government!" But that, and being treated equally under the law, are separate issues.

    Not only that, but it puzzles me as to why libertarians are pushing so hard for government acceptance. I thought that was what progressive liberals were all about, with government being their god and all.

  • ||

    Yes I understand that they want to go around and say "We're married and the government recognizes it! Now we're really married because government says so! Yay government!"

    No it totally has nothing to do with deportations, 5th amendment spousal privilege, getting hosed on estate taxes (or generally trying to leave something behind for a loved one) or anything else that requires or is significantly improved by Federal and state marriage licensing lining up. It's just a bunch of us screaming queens demanding to be pet on the head and told we're special. For someone who is so angry about people pegging all SSM opponents as closeted homophobes you seem to have no problem classifying everyone who disagrees with you as a government bootlicker.

  • ||

    "why redefining marriage is the only way to fix the problem of same sex couples being treated differently under the law"

    - Because "separate but equal" as a concept has already been destroyed as meeting the "equal protections" requirement of the 14th Amendment.

    - Because your definition of "marriage" is based upon appeal to tradition and the rational basis for that definition is logically tenuous (Procreation? Postmenopausal women can marry. Gay people can have children.) As long as the state defines laws based upon it, the definition has to adhere to equal protections guaranteed by the constitution.

    "Not only that, but it puzzles me as to why libertarians are pushing so hard for government acceptance"

    No, libertarians are pushing so hard to remove the ability of government to set arbitrary standards of discrimination when providing privileges and immunities paid for by all taxpayers.

  • Rhino||

    i had a similar episode with a SoCon on twitter. I tried to explain to him that i don't support abortion, but i don't believe the govt has the answer to that issue and i showed evidence that Roe v Wade did not increase the number of abortions. Because i didn't believe that govt pointing guns at doctors could solve abortion, i was, by default, pro-choice, even though i don't believe a woman has the moral right to end the life of her baby.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Is there a way to harness the power of poor arguments repeated with worse reasoning?

  • ||

    Unfortunately, no. If there were, H&R could become a net power generator.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Perpetual energy, we here at H&R have a plan to reverse entropy!!

  • JW||

    Now you know the secret of making Zero Point Modules.

  • Calidissident||

    Why does this one issue turn sarcasmic into Red Tony?

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    This one time at band camp...

  • ||

    Think about it, dude. It involves a closet.

  • sarcasmic||

    You wish.

  • ||

    Not possible Epi. He was tacitly for it before he was angrily against it. Were he in the closet or a bigot he would've ALWAYS been against it. Born that way, even.

  • jcw||

    Maher is having a fake libertarian party, and you're invited.

  • fish||

    Wholly appropriate as Bill Maher is a fake libertarian...bootlicker....state fellator.....Obama jerk off over........

  • fish||

    If you oppose Obama you are a bad person....

    Yes, yes....finally I can come out of the closet.....I'm a bad person.

    What am I if I oppose the democratic (oh the Republicans too) party as weel?!

  • ||

    What am I if I oppose the democratic (oh the Republicans too) party as weel?!

    SPLITTER!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Liberals are winning by framing opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) as bigots

    Why wouldn't the leftists play their favorite card?

  • sarcasmic||

    Why so many libertarians are falling for it is what I don't understand. I guess even soulless libertarians can get emotional about some issues.

  • ||

    Beat that strawman, sarc! Beat it good!

  • Gorilla tactics||

    "Liberals are winning by framing opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) as bigots"

    Uh...isn't labeling their opponents as intolerant, bigots, or evil how liberals win all of their arguments?

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Basing all beliefs on the very human interpretation of the wants and desires of a magical being in the sky makes for illogical policy...say it ain't so joe!!!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Religion isn't the sole basis for being against gays. There is also the "They seem really weird to me" basis. That one gets used for a ton of different issues as well.

  • ||

    Don't forget the closeted self-hater. No, don't forget that.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    I assumed that's the group that started the movement...heterosexuals should be ready for their gay counterparts to join the bait and switch of marraige.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Ummm, must have missed the "Buddhists against gay marraige" movement...

  • SugarFree||

    The right didn't get framed. For everyone one of the opponents of SSM that can form a somewhat coherent argument based on principles (or argue that government shouldn't be in the marriage business in the first place) there are 50 who just plain hate the idea of two guys getting married and the gay lifestyle becoming normalized for no reason beyond kultur war or religion (which hugely overlap.)

    It's easy to call SSM opponents bigots because that's what the vast majority of them are.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    On that note...from the article:

    Another reason SSM proponents have succeeded in portraying some opponents as homophobic is that, sorry, some of them really are homophobic. True, plenty are not: Many SSM foes oppose gay marriage out of sincere religious conviction, while simultaneously loving their gay and lesbian neighbors and wishing them well.

    Bigotry and sincere religious conviction is not necessarily mutually exclusive. The mormon history of racism doesn't become "not racism" just because it was a sincere religious conviction. See also, Saudi Arabian confiscation of bibles at customs.

  • sarcasmic||

    Even if they are mostly bigots, which I doubt, those who are not bigots are totally justified in wanting to bust your nose for making that accusation.

  • SugarFree||

    When one shows up, they can take a swing.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Stones...no sin...walk away in shame...blah blah blah...yeah you're good.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
    - Mark Twain

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Wise words...so I assume you we're for gay marraige before you were against it. I was cool before the fonze.

  • sarcasmic||

    As a matter of fact I was.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Then what the fuck happened, someone step on your balls?

  • sarcasmic||

    I realized that there are two distinct issues here. One is that of legal rights for same sex couples, the other is the name of the contract. They are mutually exclusive. Not wanting to change the definition of the word associated with the contract in no way proves that a person opposes rights for same sex couples. That argument is intellectually dishonest. Furthermore, absolutely refusing any compromise that does not change the definition of the word tells me that the word is more important than the legal rights. Again, intellectually dishonest.
    Since I have no use for dishonest people, I withdrew my support.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Blah, you can be for equality and against the government expanding its role in private contracts. The government shouldn't be discriminating in te contracts it recognizes and ones it doesn't, hence "for gay marraige".

  • JW||

    I realized that there are two distinct issues here.

    And that's where you should have stopped and thunk a little bit harder.

  • jcw||

    calling us intellectually dishonest for not wanting to compromise. Hah.

  • sarcasmic||

    calling us intellectually dishonest for not wanting to compromise. Hah.

    Yeah. Have everything but the word. Not good enough? Well then that tells me that the word is most important.

  • ||

    I don't give a damn why other people support it, I only support it because this is a government discrimination issue. If you think that's unlibertarian you're being retarded.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Then you must join me in my crusade to extend food stamps to everyone.

    It's fundamentally unfair for the government to discriminate against me because I'm no poor.

    In fact, do so hurts my feeling and makes me a 2nd class citizen.

  • Calidissident||

    Needz moar "COSMOTARIAN!" VG. You're slacking

  • d_remington||

    I don't support it for the same reason.

  • ||

    Pausing and reflecting doesn't mean you have to change your position.

  • ||

    OK, I didnt even read the article, just the title.

    Who framed the right?.....and I picked up this line from the comments..."Liberals are winning by framing opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) as bigots".

    Who framed the right? The right.

    The second line is incorrect....the left isnt framing the right as bigots, the right is doing that all by themselves.

    Inherent in self ownership is the right to fuck whomever you damn well please and to hell with what anyone else thinks about it...provided the other party consents.

  • trshmnstr||

    inherent in self ownership is the right to fuck whomever you damn well please and to hell with what anyone else thinks about it...provided the other party consents.

    You can't do that now?

  • ||

    You can't do that now?

    Being able to fuck someone isn't good enough. You have to be able to fuck your fellow taxpayers too. Somebody else is already doing it, so it's totally unfair if you can't do it too! Consent be damned - you consented to let married people fuck you when you were born. It was in that social contract.

  • fish||

    WAY OFF TOPIC but far too delicious too let pass for even an instant!

    WASHINGTON — Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette has been the lead sponsor on a federal ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines in two Congresses, saying it’s one of her top priorities.

    But Tuesday at a Denver Post forum on the gun control debate, the senior congresswoman from Denver appeared to not understand how guns work.

    Asked how a ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds would be effective in reducing gun violence, DeGette said:

    “I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

    I must admit T o n y S o c k p u p p e t I was wrong! More government is an unalloyed benefit. It's indisputable!

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Impressive double dismount she performed there, too bad te landing was a faceplant

  • fish||

    “I will tell you these are ammunition....

    Does this have a shot to replace "All ur base.....?

  • JW||

    Has anyone told her about the danger of Guam capsizing?

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    I imagine she would be a consigner of that bill if it ever got put forward. I mean...too many people.

  • fish||

    Get her to the fainting couch first! Then you can break it to her.

  • Matrix||

    Some on the right continue to argue (my grandfather included) that gay people will be the downfall of western civilization. They continue to spout the fallacy that gays caused the fall of the Roman Empire.

    For anyone other than my grandfather, I gladly point out that gays flourished in the Roman Empire for over a thousand years. It was about 100 years after the Roman Empire adopted Christianity that it fell to barbarians. So, if anything, Christianity is to blame!

    but not really. The problems are easy to see... overextended their military, which was incapable of repelling barbarian invasions. Also, they were bankrupt from too much government spending and too little revenue(*hinthint*). The currency was debased too far, and trade was too restrictive by that point.

    Still, who cares? Fuck the Roman Empire. Sure, we model our government in many ways after it, but they were barbaric in their practices.

    And you know what, if I ever go to Rome and see the Arch of Titus, I'm pissing on it.

  • fish||

    So, if anything, Christianity is to blame!

    Jump to conclusions much? If anything Rome was to blame! Debasement of the currency, Cronyism, Lack of respect for the proper rule of law (much more damaging when the government does this than the populace in general), Foreign adventurism.

    Christianity just happened to be around at the right time.

  • fish||

    If anything Rome was to blame! Debasement of the currency, Cronyism, Lack of respect for the proper rule of law (much more damaging when the government does this than the populace in general), Foreign adventurism.

    Sorry Matrix...you hit all that... talk about jumping to conclusions!

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Would you like a "mat"?

  • fish||

    Maybe a tissue!

    I'm verklempt....talk amongst yourselves.

  • ||

    Again, the "bigotry" claim against SSM opponents results from Occam's razor. When every argument against SSM in context of existing laws is seemingly fallacious, personal distaste towards homosexuality appears to be the most logical and honest conclusion as to why SSM opponents are willing to hold a stance that continues arbitrarily unequal protections. That conclusion does shift the burden of proof, but Occam's razor does that inherently, especially when generalizing about the motives about all people who share one belief.

    The thing is, I'm willing to take that risk until the statement "all arguments against SSM are fallacies" is proven false.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here's an argument against redefining marriage: There are other ways to fix the problem of same sex couples being treated differently under the law that do not put force of government behind a definition of marriage that many people, as proven in election after election, do not agree with.

    The only explanation as to why that is unacceptable is that the word is more important than the legal protections, which shows the entire premise that this is about legal protections to be a lie.

  • ||

    As I mentioned above, your definition of marriage is based upon appeal to tradition, and the legal justifications for the existing definition fall short of the government's requirement to provide equal protections for the privileges and immunities of all citizens. And "separate but equal" was found not to meet that standard either.

    "The only explanation as to why that is unacceptable is that the word is more important than the legal protections"

    Why is the preservation of the traditional definition of the word "marriage" so important to you that you feel compelled to invent separate but equal infrastructure and names to provide the legal protections? See also "political correctness" - and no, that doesn't mean just the acceptable left-wing lingo.

  • Calidissident||

    The government is already putting their force behind the definition of the word marriage - why do you ignore that fact in all of these arguments?

  • ||

    The government is already putting their force behind the definition of the word marriage

    Which is why there shouldn't be any such thing as a "marriage" for federal purposes.

  • Calidissident||

    I agree, I was simply pointing out the hypocrisy of his argument. But that isn't gonna happen anytime soon. And in that case, I think the government should not discriminate against gay couples

  • Smack MacDougal||

    A proper ruling by USSC robes would be to apply the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and strike down tax laws of the various states that favor marrieds — heteros or homos — to singles.

    Those who favor homosexual marriage seek politicians to employ de jure force to legitimize what is, though natural, highly abnormal (less that 4%) outlier behavior likely arising from genetic anomaly.

    The contradictory nature of many Reasonoids amuses. On the one hand, they argue there should be no laws regarding immigration, that U.S. government politicians and bureaucrats use force against individuals by inhibiting the free flow of human activity and on the other hand, these same bright lights of intellect argue for government agents to force Americans to accept gay marriage in contractual dealings and to award Spotted Owl protected class status to married gays, awarding them with marriage subsidy and tax benefits.

    I was against force until I was for it.

    In order to save libertarianism, I abandoned my libertarian principles.

  • ||

    though natural, highly abnormal (less that 4%) outlier behavior likely arising from genetic anomaly.

    Fun fact: redheads comprise about 4% of the European population. It's a much smaller percent on a global scale.

    But yeah, small genetic populations don't need legal protections, so burn the witches, no?

  • Smack MacDougal||

    Red heads don't go around the earth over demanding to be seen as normal.

    Without doubt, ginger haven't organized into a political group, laying money upon politicians in quest to get de jure declaration of normalcy.

    Do you know how analogy works?

  • ||

    Red heads don't go around the earth over demanding to be seen as normal.

    You clearly don't know any redheads.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    And what part about that foregoing resembles wittiness or adequate defense for your failing to get analogy?

  • ||

    Technically that was snark, not an attempt to prove a point. I have no illusions that you're set in your opinion on the topic, so I'll just wait. Every day more straight people find out they know and care about someone who's gay. While disassembling the machinery of state so far that marriage is meaningless in a legal sense would be ideal, I'm not really holding out hope for that, so if hoping that I will be afforded the same protections that straight people will when it comes to sponsoring a spouse for immigration, or protection from testifying against him makes me a handmaiden of the state, so be it.

    Please try to be gracious. Nobody likes a sore loser.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    So you have come on public record that you favor doubling down on discrimination because you know gays. You possess a juggernaut of logical thought there.

    In order to end discrimination, I abandoned my anti-discrimination principles.

    It became necessary to destroy libertarianism to save it.

    Clearly, you are the loser here. I have not lost anything.

    Enjoy having muddled thoughts to your dying days!

  • ||

    The projection is amazing.

    In order to end discrimination, I am willing to uphold existing arbitrary and discriminatory laws until my perfect solution of ending all state-privileged statuses is accepted into law.

  • ||

    Red heads don't go around the earth over demanding to be seen as normal.

    Without doubt, ginger haven't organized into a political group, laying money upon politicians in quest to get de jure declaration of normalcy.

    No, this is because those world-conquering bastards got sneaky. Instead of being up front about it, they stayed out of the limelight while using groups like Jews and gays as scapegoats.

    Now, it's too late. The Irish, those inhuman redheaded bastards, control everything from behind the scenes. THEY HAVE NO NEED TO ADVOCATE, THEY'VE ALREADY WON!

  • sarcasmic||

    nice

  • ||

    While I agree with our first paragraph, you've got the rest backwards.

    Until the day that all tax, inheritance, property and immigration laws are not based upon marital status, the government has no legal ability to apply arbitrary logic that results in unequal protections of the law regarding marital status.

    It's like saying "the court of Brown v. Board should have banned public schools instead of forcing existing schools to integrate blacks" or "the Supreme Court should demand that Arizona's government should sell off all roads, thus making police unable to engage in racial profiling on private property."

  • Smack MacDougal||

    What? Politicians and their handmaidens — bureaucrats, judges — already are applying arbitrary rules that result in unequal protection of law.

    Tax and welfare laws benefit marrieds at the expense of unmarrieds.

    Your Brown v. Board of Ed attempt at analogy fails. So does your Arizona fantasy.

    Perhaps you meant to write that in order for USSC robes to rule on discrimination waged against singles caused by tax and subsidy laws that favor marrieds, someone needs to sue over it and such a suit must make its way to their court, you would have been onto something.

  • ||

    Politicians and their handmaidens — bureaucrats, judges — already are applying arbitrary rules that result in unequal protection of law. Tax and welfare laws benefit marrieds at the expense of unmarrieds.

    So because the politicians are doing it already, that justifies this case? None of us here are supporting said privileged statuses (hell, I'm the biggest critic of the corporate entity on Reason). The equal right to access these privileged statuses until the privilege itself is fixed is a reluctant compromise.

    Public schools benefit families that send their kids to public schools at the expense of families that don't. Does that power give government the capacity to make a law excluding gay students from public schools? Note, nowhere in my argument did I say "I support public schools."

    Your Brown v. Board of Ed attempt at analogy fails. So does your Arizona fantasy.

    OK, because you say so?

  • Smack MacDougal||

    That is what you are saying. You are saying that pols should turn gays into a protected class and award them with privileges, doubling down on the mistake of awarding heteors with privileges.

    As to your failed Brown v. Board of Ed, you fail to see the robes ruling applied equally to each individual in America. It did not apply to people because of a behavioral, lifestyle choice — being married.

    Clearly, you don't get analogy because yours wasn't.

    OK, because you say so?

    ~ Proprietist

    That is your doubling down on your confusion. Clearly, you don't get how analogy works.

  • ||

    "You are saying that pols should turn gays into a protected class and award them with privileges, doubling down on the mistake of awarding heteors with privileges."

    You are saying that pols should turn blacks into a protected class and award them with privileges, doubling down on the mistake of awarding whites with privileges.

    The robes ruling applied to the equally to each individual in America and applied to a lifestyle choice - the decision to seek state-funded education.

    You can keep stating that's a false analogy all day, but my "confusion" is a result of your lack of support for your claim.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    Are you that deluded that you believe I am seeking your support?

    You are like millions in America, totally confused, suffering from mind disorder.

    In your mind, two wrongs make a right.

    Your Brown v Board of Ed faux analogy failed. You are grasping at straws.

  • ||

    LOL. First you dismiss the widely accepted Perfect Solution fallacy is a fallacy, yet you continue to display it

    Now, let's see: equivocation (sentence 1 - "my support for your stance" =/= "your support for your own claims") ad hominem (sentence 2), lying (sentence 3 - what "two wrongs" have I advocated for? I have clearly opposed both the privileged status and the discrimination repeatedly) and argument by dismissal (sentence 4).

  • ||

    If there was a law on the books stating that all Christians are banned from forming a legal corporation together (Christianity is a "lifestyle choice", after all), would you support the effort of the Christians to have it knocked down?

    Corporations are state-created legal statuses providing limited liability privileges for stockholders. By your logic, you should oppose the Christians' effort because the court should instead find that all laws based on corporations are inherently preferenced and privileged over unincorporated sole proprietorships.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    You fail at analogy, yet again.

    Clearly, you are a corporatist who believes discrimination against any random individual is fine while formation of groups in pursuit of privileges paid for by unorganized individuals is fine.

    You should realize that you are not a libertarian. Favoring groups and de jure awarded privilege over individuals reveals that you are not at all libertarian in thought.

    You should awaken to being a libertine leftist.

  • ||

    Wow, you really are amazing aren't you? I don't know how much more clearly I need to state that I oppose the privileged legal statuses of both marriage and incorporation, yet I also oppose arbitrary state discrimination to access those statuses as long as those privileged legal statuses exist in law...

    This is probably the point where one concludes "you must be trolling" due to your continued obfuscation, equivocation, name-calling, projection and repeated argument by dismissal that fallacies are fallacies.

  • ||

    repeated argument by dismissal that fallacies aren't fallacies.

  • Smack MacDougal||

    And then you clamor for politicians to double down with another error, conferring more privilege to another protected class.

    WTG faux libertarian!

  • ||

    I clamor for politicians to follow consistent definitions of equal protections for all existing privileges they are currently providing. That doesn't mean I clamor for politicians to provide said privileged statuses in the first place.

    Just because I don't support public schools excluding blacks, gays and atheists doesn't mean I inherently support public schools.

    Nuance is hard to graps sometimes.

  • ||

    Spelling is hard to grasp sometimes.

  • Gladstone||

    ConservativesLibertarians are now complaining that they’re losing the fight over same-sex marriage ending free shit because the left has done a better job of framing the issue.

  • ||

    That's true though. Since many libertarians patently reject utilitarian analysis as the basis for arguments against statism, the Left have been able to convince the public with the utilitarian arguments even though the actual outcomes of the Left's policies are generally stagnatory or regressive.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I thought I'd comment on that truncated James Taranto quote. Here's the relevant passage:

    "We've been following this debate for years, and we've never heard opponents claim that same-sex marriage would diminish or endanger their own marriages. Their arguments are based on morality, tradition, and worries about the effects on the institution of marriage, on society as a whole, and on the rights of individuals and institutions that adhere to the traditional view of marriage. The merits of those concerns are of course debatable, but Pexton is either obtuse or disingenuous in reducing them to a nonsensical appeal to self-interest."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....35292.html

    The post left out the part about "the rights of individuals and institutions that adhere to the traditional view of marriage."

    Also, from the context Taranto is pointing out the straw-man nature of the claim that SSM will affect the marriage of particular critics of SSM. They've already got theirs, they believe themselves to be keeping marriage intact for the benefit of other people, not themselves. Other people like "individuals and institutions [photographers, florists, etc.] that adhere to the traditional view of marriage." So even if the critics's own marriages are secure, they don't think the marriages and civil rights of other people will necessarily be secure.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's one thing to disagree with Taranto, but it's another thing to creatively restate him as claiming that SSM will never harm *any* marriage in the future - and to edit out the part where he mentions the effect of SSM on private businesses, a topic which has actually been covered in Reason itself.

  • Calidissident||

    "the rights of individuals and institutions that adhere to the traditional view of marriage."

    The same people that by and large, are all in favor of government enforcing their preferred definition of marriage on everyone else? Why is that people like you and sarc act as if the evil gays are trying to use government force to enforce their agenda against the SoCons who have no desire to do so?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The racial analogy, however, fits rather neatly—because the arguments against racial mixing and those against same-sex marriage sound so similar and work the same way. Both attempt to rebuff a demand for equal treatment by appealing to the Bible, natural law and 2,000 years of tradition (see this article for some examples)."

    This is accompanied by a link which puts together quotes going back to 1823 against interracial marriage.

    "Anti-miscegenation laws...were first introduced in North America from the late seventeenth century onwards by several of the Thirteen Colonies..."*

    Now, Ezra Klein might think that was the same as 2,000 years, but the reality is that laws against interracial marriage are much, much younger than that, everywhere except, apparently, China, which around 1500 years ago started alternately forbidding, then requiring, interracial marriage.*

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....ation_laws

  • Calidissident||

    The US wasn't colonized until the 17th century, and there wasn't exactly a huge opportunity for widespread miscegenation in the West before then. Someone in the 1960's could most certainly make an argument based on upholding "the traditional American definition of marriage."

    In any case, I find it interesting that Eduard prefers to cloak his agenda in libertarian rhetoric, but when his inconsistent logic is exposed reverts to appeal to tradition as a valid argument.

  • PrairieDog||

    Sorry, Mr Hinkle, but I disagree.

    First of all there are two separate debates about same-sex marriage:

    1 Is there some kind of right to marriage which requires states to create SSM, and should the federal courts impose it upon the states?

    2 Is the statutory creation of same-sex marriage by states a good idea?

    Proponents of same-sex marriage tend to conflate these questions.

    It is the framing of the second question where I think you are wrong. I could be persuaded that there are good reasons to create SSM by statute, but frankly, I've never heard any. SSM advocates have not bothered to assert any affirmative arguments why society might be better off for creating SSM, beyond that well, the gays have an equal right, etc.,and the media has never required them to do so. If one double-dog dares an SSM advocate to make an affirmative argument for how society will benefit from SSM, about the best he can do is that society will be better off for being inclusive, etc., but if there are any real-world social benefits of gay marriage, no one bothers to articulate them. SSM advocates have, by default, depended on the 'equality' argument.
    That might be a constitutional argument, but in my opinion, is not an argument for statutory creation of SSM any more than it is for the statutory creation of polygamous civil marriage.
    Can you, Mr Hinkle, formulate an affirmative reason for the statutory creation of gay marriage that does not depend upon 'equal rights'?

  • ||

    While this can be debated from a multitude of angles, I choose to look at it from a separation of church and state angle: IF marriage is is God's realm, why is the church groveling before Caesar to define marriage? Why not instead get Caesar out of it and have everyone form corporations. Incorporate for Caesar and Marry for God. Yeah places like VA will have to wake up to the fact that SCOTUS shot down anti-sodomy laws in 2003 under Lawrence v. Texas, but separating the 2 ensures that Caesar can't tell the church who can marry and the church can't tell Caesar who can join/have sex/mate/?. Well, unless you are trying to control people and restrict freedoms.

    Unfortunately, the next argument will be that we are destroying traditional marriage in favor of getting tax write-offs on the family vehicle.

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