The faulty logic behind Proposition 8

Posted on 12 Mar 2009 at 6:05pm
By Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

Supporters of amendment contradict themselves by saying marriage strengthens society, then seeking to deny right to same-sex couples

For all the moral outrage expressed by the defenders of Proposition 8, they fail to see the biggest contradiction.

Their main premise is that legalizing marriage between same-sex couples will somehow undermine the fabric of society. 

I have yet to see an argument by these folks on exactly how this will happen, but let me take a shot at it.

It seems that in the eyes of these folks, marriage is one of the fundamental building blocks of society. I would assume the logic follows that by codifying a relationship and giving it legal status, you affirm and strengthen the bond between the two partners, providing a legal contract that assures the welfare of children of the couple and thus assuring future generations’ stability. The moral underpinnings of this would be that a legally sanctioned coupling is preferable to promiscuous illicit sex.

That said, here comes the paradox. The act of sex between consenting adults of the same gender is affirmed by both the U.S. Supreme Court and California law. Hooray! Yet that same state’s law allows the very act it permits to be considered illicit and by nature immoral. So on one hand the law permits illicit sexual behavior and on the other hand it prevents those people engaged in it from entering into a contract where that activity would be moral and sanctioned.

Now before you get too outraged, I find the whole thing a bit strange. Personally, I do not think the government has any business in the bedrooms of consenting adults, married or otherwise. The other problem is that in my book, "marriage" is a religious sacrament and the government has no business, as per the Constitution, meddling in religion. If for legal reasons the government must sanction relationships, then the instrument of a civil union should suffice for everyone and "marriage" should be left in the church.
 
So what does this leave us with? Well, not surprisingly, the moral outrage of the right wing is once again based on faulty logic and a carefully "cherry-picked" reading of reality. If Prop 8 supporters were really concerned about society, they would applaud efforts to codify relationships for the benefit of the couple involved and their children.

Giving legal status to same-sex relationships strengthens society as a whole and benefits not just the couple but their families. It allows property to be passed down to children and gives rights to spouses regarding important life decisions. Without these rights and benefits, society as a whole is weaker and less stable.

Now, in reality, I know the supporters of Prop 8 would never consider any of these arguments. It is not in their nature to look beyond their own narrow field of view. But perhaps lawmakers might see the light and take steps to help level the playing field for all citizens.

I suggest starting with a revamping of the entire concept of governmentally sanctioned "marriage."

At the risk of sounding like a fundamentalist, let’s put marriage back in the church where it belongs.

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