77 Non-religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage is a Gish Gallop pamphlet attributed to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D, purporting to deliver a number of "non-religious" reasons that same-sex marriage should not be allowed. Despite the marriage-related title, many of the listed reasons are actually attacks on homosexuals' parenting rights, as well as single parents and any other arrangement that doesn't resemble the traditional nuclear family. The original of this gumph can be found at her blog and a PDF file hosted by the Eagle Forum.
Dr. Morse Ph.D is the founder of the Ruth Institute, an offshoot of the National Organisation for Marriage. Despite a legitimate doctorate in economics from the University of Rochester, Dr. Morse, Ph.D, seems to follow the usual crank symptom of being so insecure in their qualification that they must be referred to as Dr. and/or Ph.D at all times.
Like most Gish Gallop lists, there aren't really 77 reasons given here. Many are vague re-wordings of the same point (mostly "children need both fathers and mothers" repeated ad nauseam) and some don't really fall into the category of "reason" at all - even by a broad definition - but are merely whining statements of supposed fact. In support of the assertion that children need both parents, Dr. Morse Ph.D repeatedly says that this is backed up by the need for children to know and feel close to their biological parents. To cite her biography on her old site, she adopted a Romanian boy in 1991, thus robbing him of his essential right to know his biological parents and experience his culture and heritage. Curiously, this fact is missing from her biography on the Ruth Institute website. Is that an ad hominem? A shameless tu quoque? Yep, and damn proud of it.
Nothing is cited at any point in the list, although if you care to give Dr. Morse Ph.D the benefit of the doubt and say that there isn't room for citations on a mere 2-page pamphlet, that's fine. But, the original word count of all of these points combined is about 2,300 - about the size of a reasonable undergraduate essay that would include footnotes - and the text of the original is remarkably squashed to make it fit onto two sides. The remaining points in the list not falling into "repeat" or "whining" can be categorised as "irrelevant", and so the lack of more specific detail to back up these assertions cannot be excused. This seems to be an exercise in reaching a magical number, 77, rather than building convincing arguments. If it was about simple brevity, only a dozen points at most would be needed; if it was about providing a consistent argument there would be more coherent prose rather than bullet points.
The overall theme is defending and supporting man/woman marriage, but, contrary to what the title would suggest, no one is on record opposing man/woman marriage. As with most modern homophobic tactics (e.g., Heterophobia), this re-frames the debate as not about giving and extending rights to others, but as trying to protect the rights of others. This is, of course, bollocks, since allowing same-sex marriage wouldn't ban or destroy hetero-sex marriage, which would still comprise the vast majority of marriages even if every gay and bisexual person on the planet chose to marry someone of the same sex. So Dr Morse Ph.D's list is fairly underhanded right from the start.
77 Non-religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage
The essential public purpose of marriage
|1. The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.||This would be better phrased as an essential public purpose of marriage. Others include the ability for a spouse to represent the other, receive certain entitled benefits and be a next-of-kin representative for medical treatment to name just a few. If Dr. Morse Ph.D wishes to hold any pretense of this being exclusively non-religious in nature and not blatantly homophobic, she would have to develop an argument that suggests why homosexual couples should be denied these other rights, but she doesn't.|
|2. Man/woman marriage allows children to know and be known by their biological parents. Same sex marriage separates children from at least one parent.||This argument can be applied to any child had out of wedlock - perhaps those born following a rape - or any child where a single parent is involved. This argument also applies to adoption by couples of any sex. Hence this establishes nothing of value to an argument against same-sex marriage specifically.|
|3. Man/woman marriage sets the foundation for children to have the same biological, legal and care-giving parents. Same sex marriage separates these functions among different people.||This is effectively a repeat of 2.|
|4. Man/woman marriage provides children with access to their genetic, cultural and social heritage.||No argument is presented as to why this is the case. Cultural and social heritage comes from more than just parents; they involve your social setting, peer groups, institutions and can be influenced by a wide variety of stimuli. Dr. Morse Ph.D provides no reason why this sort of experience can only be arrived at by a heterosexual couple that is married. No definition of "genetic heritage" is given, either.|
|5. Even though it is not always possible, children have the best life chances when they are raised by their biological married parents.||In the first instance, citation needed. Secondly, this argument applies to a multitude of situations as noted in 2.|
Summary: Dr. Morse Ph.D has not established that child-rearing is the primary and sole reason behind marriage (even if this was demonstrated, wouldn't it logically follow for marriages to be annulled once a child reaches maturity?) and does not back up her assertions with any reason or citation.
Some People say research shows That children of same sex couples do just as well as the children of opposite sex couples
|6. The research in this area is preliminary. We don't have studies that last long enough to show the long-term impact of being raised in a same sex household.||Citation needed, of course, but even if research is only "preliminary", positive outcomes in preliminary research quite often correlate with positive outcomes in more thorough research. Many children report being perfectly happy with same-sex parents, but they do so at an automatic disadvantage because people such as Dr. Morse Ph.D denigrate their co-parents, turning their assertions that children are at a disadvantage into a self-fulfilling prophecy.|
|7. Much of the research in this area does not use a representative sample of same sex couples. People volunteer to be in the study. Volunteers are often more affluent, more educated, and more likely to be better parents regardless of sexual orientation.||While an interesting aside on selection bias, this cuts both ways. Also, citation needed.|
|8. Each member of the same sex couple may be a fine parent. But two good mothers do not add up to a father.||Blind assertion that tries to mix mathematics with real people in a strange way. Oh, Ph.D in economics, ah, that explains it! Also, making a serious argument of a Chris Rock stand-up comedy bit. Regardless, if two mothers don't add up to a father, doesn't it follow that one mother is even less adequate? Yet our esteemed author isn't railing against single-parent households.|
Summary: Some people say research shows Dr. Morse Ph.D cannot form a coherent argument, even given two pages of text to do it in.
But not all married couples have children. How can you say marriage is about the benefits to children?
|9. This looks at marriage from the adult point of view. It reveals just how deeply same sex marriage inverts the purpose of marriage.||Read this again, Dr. Morse Ph.D, this doesn't actually answer the question.|
|10. Look at marriage from the child's point of view. Not every marriage produces children. But every child has parents.||Again, except in cases where the mother is raped (and then denied an abortion, thanks to right-wing control freaks from the likes of the Eagle Forum) or when another parent dies. Or when the child is adopted. Or when parents don't marry. Mostly, however, this point presents itself ass backwards; this is a discussion on the nature of child-rearing, not the nature of marriage. That not every marriage produces children is of fundamental importance to the argument that the sole purpose of marriage is to raise children; yet here, it is casually hand-waved away.|
|11. Every child is entitled to a relationship with both parents.||Every child is entitled to a relationship with parents who care for them. There are countless children worldwide in orphanages, in single-parent families and so on, and many others in abusive relationships with one or both parents.|
|12. Every child is entitled to know and be known by both parents.||A repeat of both 2 and 11.|
|13. No child can possibly protect these entitlements on his or her own.||Which is why we have adoption programs, social support and various laws that allow children to be cared for by the best possible family. Otherwise, this is irrelevant.|
|14. Adult society must protect the child's right to affiliation with both parents.||A repeat of 13.|
|15. Adult society must protect these rights through prevention of harm, not through restitution after the fact.||Also a repeat of 13.|
|16. Man/woman marriage is the institution adult society uses to pro-actively protect the rights of all children to affiliation with both parents.||Again, except in the circumstances of... you get the idea now. This point solves nothing.|
|17. Same sex marriage changes marriage from a child-centered institution to an adult-centered institution.||As stated above, Dr. Morse Ph.D didn't back up the assertion that marriage is a child-centered institution in the first place. If this was proved, then the logical argument would be to ban infertile couples from marriage too. No such argument exists amongst people against same-sex marriage.|
|18. Without man/woman marriage, there will be no institution specifically protecting the rights of children to be in relationship with both parents.||Effectively a repeat of all the above melded into one.|
|19. Adopted and foster children tell us that they long for relationship with their biological parents.||A relationship with biological parents can exist independent of marriage, so this doesn't really prove anything. Many adopted children won't have suitable parents to have a relationship with. In some cases they may be too dead for that, while in many others they will most certainly not be married. So, in a sense, Dr. Morse Ph.D's point here is that marriage isn't necessary, it's just a relationship with biological parents. Curious.|
|20. The law in most states helps adopted children find their birth parents.||This is one of those "not an argument or reason but simple factoid" items. In any case, adopted children finding their birth parents isn't relevant to marriage.|
|21. Deliberately conceiving a child with the life plan that he or she will never have a relationship with his or her father is unjust and cruel to the child.||This is a transparently shaky argument against gay marriage, considering that it could equally apply to the use of sperm banks, which the religious right is not up in arms about.|
SUMMARY: The argument so far is that children must be with biological parents, and only with both biological parents. But the only way to consistently follow this up is to make fertility tests mandatory as a qualification to get married, ensure rapists marry their victims, ban adoption in all forms, never take children from their parents even in the most dire cases of abuse, ban divorce, and then make divorce mandatory when their children reach a certain age or the couple becomes infertile. Curiously, Dr. Morse Ph.D doesn't see this obvious solution to the problems and arguments she presents!
Some peoples say children only need two adults who love each other and that love is more important than biology
|22. If the love between adults were the only important factor, we would expect stepparents to be interchangeable with biological parents. But this is not generally the case.||Citation needed. Or is this just generalized from fairytales where the step-parent is a stock villain? But even if this is all true, it's really more an argument against divorce (or against remarriage after divorce) than against gay marriage itself.|
|23. Children in stepparent households, on average, have more emotional problems and lower school achievement than children of married parents.||A repeat of 22.|
|24. Discipline can be complicated in stepparent households compared with households with married biological parents. Some biological parents exclude the stepparent from discipline, saying “they are my kids, not yours.”||The situation described here is where a child has been raised, usually to quite a significant age, by one set of parents and then is replaced by another. This is not directly analogous in any way to adoption of young children by gay couples or conception through a surrogate father/mother.|
|25. Some children in stepparent homes expertly pit the parents against each other.||Basically the same as 24. Except even less relevant. Is such a thing even possible? Yes it is!|
|26. Loyalties in stepparent households can be complicated. The biological parent can feel torn between commitment to the child and commitment to the spouse. Intact biological families are more likely to feel that loving their child is also an act of love for the child’s other parent.||Another repeat of 24/25.|
|27. Research shows that stepfathers spend less time with their spouses’ children than do biological fathers. Remarried mothers, on average, spend less time with their own children. The child and the spouse become competitors for the mother’s attention.||Again, citation needed but it seems prima facie plausible. Still, the analogy to step-parents is flawed in this case. As presented, this is an argument against re-marriage, but not against non-heterosexual marriage.|
|28. Same sex parenting means that one of the adults will have no biological relationship to the child, and may be more like a stepparent than a biological parent. We can’t assume the adults’ love for each other will resolve the complications inherent in stepparent families.||Basically a repeat of all the above.|
SUMMARY: This section is almost entirely irrelevant to same-sex marriage owing to the false analogy with step-parents - having a child from age 0 isn't entirely the same situation as suddenly getting a child aged 10 with a history and established relationship. As a defense of marriage as opposed to an attack on same-sex marriage, this may have a point, but then why would Dr. Morse Ph.D bring up the man/woman issue at all if she was defending marriage rather than attacking homosexual couples? This would be more aptly titled "77 Reasons for Enforced Marriage Between Biological Parents". Or, like, 12 reasons given the number of blatant repeats.
Men and women are not interchangeable
|29. Same sex marriage makes an implicit statement that mothers and fathers are interchangeable, and that sex is irrelevant to parenting. The burden of proof should be on those who make this strong, non-intuitive claim.||This isn't strictly how burden of proof works because that's in asserting facts about reality, not social policy - see the is/ought problem, for instance. You can test for what environments cause children to be more X, less Y, more Z and so on, and define "better" based on that; however, you can't simply call burden of proof on something without suggesting what levels of (reasonable) proof you would accept. Perhaps if Dr. Morse Ph.D didn't repeat so many points, she'd have the space to expand on this a little more.|
|30. Even same sex couples believe sex is relevant: the sex of their partners. A gay man insists on a male sex partner. He is not satisfied with a female sex partner, no matter how masculine she may be. A lesbian insists on a female sex partner. Even a very feminine man will not do.||And this is relevant to marriage...how? Not to mention this excludes any member who experiences more than one gender attraction, such as bisexuals, pansexuals, and so on|
|31. It is unjust for the law to decree that adults are entitled to have what they want, namely, partners of the same sex, while children have to accept whatever we give them.||Is this an argument for letting children stay up late, avoid eating their greens, beat up the wimpy kid and not go to school, while running roughshod over the adults in their lives? But, more seriously, Dr. Morse Ph.D has just said "It is unjust for the law to decree that adults are entitled to have what they want, namely, partners of the same sex." - so let's get this clear, this is a tacit admission that this entire list has nothing to do with defending marriage and everything to do with attacking those with sexualities Dr. Morse Ph.D doesn't approve of.|
|32. Mothers and fathers each make unique contributions to the child’s development. Father absence creates risks in children that mother absence does not create.||Mere assertion of traditional gender roles. In which case, perhaps Dr. Morse Ph.D should stop writing tracts like this and get back to the kitchen.|
|33. Teenaged girls without fathers are at risk for early sexual activity, multiple sex partners, out of wedlock pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.||More citation needed. But this should imply male same-sex couples would actually be superior to opposite-sex couples on this score. Or at least that a two-parent family (either gay or straight) would be preferable to a single-parent household.|
|34. Teenaged boys without fathers are at risk for juvenile delinquency, violence, criminal activity, gang membership and incarceration.||This is the other half of 33.|
|35. Pre-teen girls not living with their biological fathers get their menstrual periods earlier than girls who live with their fathers. Getting an early period is associated with a host of health problems including unhealthy weight gain, breast cancer, cancer of the reproductive system, and emotional problems (such as body image disorders, depression, anxiety, aggression and substance abuse) not to mention early sexual activity.||Whoa, there! Citation. Fucking. Needed.
And even if this is all quite true, it's more an argument against divorce than anything.|
|36. Children need help and guidance in developing their sexual identities. Same sex marriage will make this task more difficult, if not legally forbidden.||Citation needed. Also note the scaremongering of "legally forbidden". There's really no way allowing same-sex couples to get married could do that.|
SUMMARY: Hi, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D! Cast your mind back to the bland summer of 1980 when you were writing your thesis at Rochester. Remember that? I know it was economics, but I'm sure you had a thing called a "reference" section. You know, the bit at the back with all the numbers and the italics and all that? Yeah, remember that? I know it was a long time ago but surely it's not too difficult. You've repeated yourself so much here that you have more than enough space to add some citations.
Redefining marriage marginalizes fathers
|37 The claim that mothers and fathers are interchangeable will affect men and women differently.||How exactly? This isn't a "reason". Stop saying you have "77 Reasons" when you've padded it out like this!|
|38 When a child is born a mother is always somewhere close by. Fathers are intrinsically less connected to children than mothers. The essential purpose of man/woman marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to each other. Same sex marriage implies that the attachment of fathers to their children is irrelevant.||This is pretty much a repeat of the entire first section, where there was assertion that marriage is for children while completely glossing over the countless other rights that status confers. Don't overlook the biological insight in the first sentence.|
|39 Countries with same sex marriage symbolically diminish fatherhood. The Province of British Columbia, Canada changed its birth certificates. They have a place for the mother's name and a check-off box for the “other parent/father.”
||The Vital Statistics Agency of British Columbia's online birth registration process demonstrates this to be a somewhat exaggerated assertion.|
|40 The United Kingdom used to have a requirement that unmarried women could not use artificial reproductive technology unless they could show that the child's need for a father would be met. They dropped this requirement after instituting same sex marriage, for fear of offending lesbian couples.||Even less relevant than 39. Also, factually inaccurate as the UK - at the time this list was published - didn't allow full same-sex marriage. Although civil partnerships have been available since 2004, "marriage" is considered a separate entity and was first introduced in England and Wales in 2014.|
|41 Once same sex marriage becomes legally and socially acceptable, more women will decide to raise children together. They will view this as easier than putting forth the effort of crossing the gender divide and cooperating with a man through marriage.||Wait. What the fuck? (Could she be projecting here?)|
|42 In today's climate, we can imagine people looking at two women raising children together and saying, “See, it is just as I have always thought: women don't need a man. Children don't really need fathers.” It is almost inconceivable that people would look at two men raising children together and conclude that children don’t need mothers.||A repeat of 41 yet somehow worded even worse. Also, people today don't seem to have seen single-parent families and concluded that children don't need fathers/mothers.|
|43 Same sex marriage will further marginalize gendered language and gender roles. In Scotland, schools stopped celebrating Fathers Day. Montgomery County, Maryland, removed all references to gender in the county code. The words “father” and “mother,” “husband” and “wife” are becoming suspect.||Christ-on-a-bike, all these repeats and now three points rolled into one!
- Traditional gender roles aren't being marginalised; people are free to conform to them if they like. Or, they can have the freedom to escape those roles and do something else. For example, a woman can go to university and become a lecturer and found her own institution instead of being forced to stay at home to cook and bake. You wouldn't know anyone who did that, would you, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D?
- "Banned in Scotland" is a bit of a stretch according to a Telegraph article on the subject, though you have to read paragraph 19 to find out why.
- You mean this?
Summary: This is tedious bullshit, and seems to be laboring under the assumption that same-sex marriage will lead, long term, to some weird lesbian world government.
The Pandora’s box of artificial reproduction
|44 No one has a right to have a child. Children are not objects, to which other people have rights. Children are persons, with rights of their own.||Finally, something sensible! However... this doesn't exactly gel well with the other assertions about marriage. In this case, the argument logically extends by combination of everything else said to not everyone having the right to get married - and the right being decided based on having children and not purely on sexuality.|
|45 We will not be able to maintain a free society if some people come into being as objects, created by other people for their own purposes.||Okay... so this is the sequitur to 44, but is there is no supporting reasoning for why a child conceived for a homosexual couple is any more or less of an object than one to a hetereosexual couple.|
|46 Artificial reproductive technology violates the dignity of the child.||Does this include heterosexual couples who use IVF to overcome fertility issues? Probably not, therefore the argument is inconsistent at best.|
|47 Using donated sperm or eggs necessarily involves the alienation of the child from one or both parents.||Citation needed, and there's no supporting reason for why this applies exclusively to same-sex couples.|
|48 Children who were conceived by artificial insemination with donor sperm often experience a sense of loss from not knowing their fathers.||Basically a repeat of 47.|
|49 Advocates of the unlimited use of artificial reproductive technology argue “our children will be fine, because we wanted these children so badly.” Turn this statement around: “We got to manufacture another human being, because we wanted to.” It no longer sounds so appealing.||Implying that the only option is to have children that are unwanted. Also, turn this argument around. To justify straight biological parents' presumptive legal custody, Dr. Morse PhD argues, "Straight couples' children will be fine as we only love sex and tax breaks." But rephrase this: "We accidentally manufactured a human being by having sex without the benefit of comprehensive sex education or contraception because we wanted to." It no longer sounds so appealing.
Additionally, in every respect but the fertilization itself, a child conceived by IVF grows and develops prenatally in exactly the same manner as a child conceived in the conventional manner. They are not "manufacture[d]."|
|50 Same sex marriage creates an entitlement to the use of artificial reproductive technology.||This is massively misleading because the general inability to conceive children combined with the very existence of the technology creates an entitlement to it. This applies just as well to heterosexual couples with fertility problems - and this dates back long before same-sex marriage became the hot issue it is today. In fact, Dr. Morse Ph.D's continual assertion in this screed that marriage is exclusively for raising children is the attitude that creates an entitlement. Marriage is for raising children; if you're married and can't have children then technology is there to help! If marriage is framed as an adult-centered union of people who share various legal rights (you know, as most people view it), an "entitlement" to children doesn't appear at all.|
|51 An “entitlement” to the use of artificial reproductive technology means that anyone with money gets to do anything they want. This cannot be correct, from any moral or religious perspective. Yet same sex marriage advocacy is driving the law in this direction.||If you've ever visited the planet Earth, you'll see that entitlement and the fact that "anyone with money gets to do anything they want" doesn't correlate with same-sex marriage - it correlates where anything is available for a price. Fertility treatment is one of those things, and came about because heterosexual couples weren't able to conceive children without assistance.|
Summary: This list seems to assume heterosexual couples have no fertility problems. It also seems to suggest that it's homosexual couples that have spurred the idea of "entitlement" to this treatment. Obviously, Dr. Morse Ph.D must be aware that this is wrong, as in the previous section she made reference to the UK's use of fertility treatment, and that this was made available on the NHS under certain circumstances long before the UK introduced civil partnerships (and only introduced full marriage rights to non-hetero couples in England and Wales in 2014). So, in short, an argument about fertility treatment is really a dead end.
Same sex marriage redefines marriage
|52 The state creates same sex marriage by saying that marriage is the union of any two persons, instead of the union of a man and a woman. Same sex marriage affects everyone because the new legal definition applies to everyone.||Yep. That's the point. But this "reason" - which is merely just a statement, rather than an argument - is a circular appeal to tradition. It concludes nothing.|
|53 Genderless marriage will drive out gendered marriage. Same sex marriage transforms marriage from a gender-based institution to a gender-neutral institution.||The upper estimate for the number of people who identify as homosexual or bisexual is about 10% of the population. A lower bound based on wider surveys with a lower selection bias (but a higher risk of people not giving honest answers) suggests 3%. In Dr. Morse Ph.D's fantasy world, these people are capable of destroying the ability for the remaining 90-97% of the population to get married and have children. It shouldn't need stating why this is one of the stupidest arguments ever made against marriage equality.|
|54 Judges who have imposed same sex marriage have made statements that appear superficially plausible in the context of same sex marriage, but which are certainly false as general statements.||Irrelevant filler to introduce the following. Also, when have judges "imposed" same sex marriage? At most, they would interpret and uphold a law that the pertinent legislative body created. And, got a citation? Thought not.|
|55 The judges who imposed same sex marriage in Iowa stated, “The research … suggests that the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.” This is not true as a general statement.||Although it's difficult to track down this quote to anything other than a pro-life homophobic organisation, the fullest appearing version from a quick Google search reads:
...an abundance of evidence and research, confirmed by our independent research, supporting the proposition that the interests of children are served equally by same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. On the other hand, we acknowledge the existence of reasoned opinions that dual-gender parenting is the optimal environment for children. These opinions, while thoughtful and sincere, were largely unsupported by reliable scientific studies. The research appears to strongly support the conclusion that same-sex couples foster the same wholesome environment as opposite-sex couples and suggests that the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.
|56 The judge who overturned California’s Proposition 8 stated, “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under the law is a union of equals.” The first statement assumes what needs to be proven. The second statement creates a false dichotomy, suggesting that unless gender is irrelevant, marriage is necessarily something other than a union of equals.
||This is part of a longer quote by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker (part of 136 pages, apparently), but here it is as reported by CNN:
Dr. Morse Ph.D's interpretation of this is that Judge Walker's assertion that "gender is not essential" needs to be proven - except, if a judge is overturning a law by stating it, that's pretty much proof enough. A massive portion of first-world society view gender/sex as not essential in a loving relationship. Dr. Morse Ph.D's second sentence about a false dichotomy seems to be just a collection of words thrown together.
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples," Walker, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan, wrote in his opinion.
"Race restrictions on marital partners were once common in most states but are now seen as archaic, shameful or even bizarre," he added. "Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals."
|57 If enough judges say enough implausible things, people will lose respect for the law.||(1) Irrelevant. (2) Slippery slope fallacy. (3) Feel free to disobey any court orders you disagree with.|
|58 Creating one legal institution for both same and opposite sex couples requires the law to strip away all the essential public purposes of marriage and leaves only the inessential private purposes of marriage.||These "essential public purposes" that Dr. Morse. Ph.D has so far failed to thoroughly define and defend?|
|59 The judge who overturned California’s Proposition 8 stated, “Marriage is the state recognition and approval of a couple's choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another and to join in an economic partnership and support one another and any dependents.” By this definition, college roommates or members of clubs count as “married.”||Anyone who has studied the concept of an "argument from definition" and "reductio ad absurdum" should find this hilarious without further explanation.|
|60 By the time the activists are finished, there will be nothing left of marriage but a government registry of friendships.||This is a fantasy world. Compare, for example, Newt Gingrich's various marriages or the countless celebrity marriages that last weeks if not days, and you'll see that eroding the concept of marriage into something not-so-serious isn't the government's fault. In short, heterosexual couples have been mistreating this supposed serious institution for centuries; Dr. Morse Ph.D has presented no argument why homosexual couples should be denied the chance to do the same.|
Summary: Dr. Morse Ph.D lives in a fantasy world where a minority of people can destroy an institution that doesn't really exist in the first place. Despite this supposedly being a non-religious list, none of these "reasons" (only about half of this section count as arguments under even broad terms) can support the general argument without resorting to religious definitions of marriage, as Dr. Morse Ph.D seems eager and willing to throw out society's definitions and attitudes in support of her own view as a Catholic.
Redefining marriage redefines parenthood
|61 Man/woman marriage is the institution that attaches mothers and fathers to their children. Same sex marriage transforms marriage into an institution that separates children from at least one of their parents.||Effectively a repeat of the first section; again, this argument applies equally to adoption and surrogate fertility treatment for heterosexual couples.|
|62 Same sex marriage opens the door to children having more than 2 legal parents, as it has in Canada.||This isn't necessarily true as the legal hurdles for introducing polygamy are considerably higher than for same-sex marriage - the former requires the entire legal framework to be re-written, while the latter just requires the law to stop being discriminatory; the differences are quite marked. However, why this is a bad thing is not addressed. Children already have godparents and grandparents and various child-minders, and Quiverfull families usually assign older siblings to act as "parents". These people have no legal protections despite routinely being given considerable de facto responsibility over a child.|
|63 Same sex marriage routinely places biological parents on the same legal footing with adults who have no genetic relationship to the child.||As does adoption, which has been around for much longer than the same-sex marriage issue.|
|64 Same sex marriage eliminates the legal principle that biology is the primary means of establishing parental rights and responsibilities.||As does adoption and so on. However, this argument seems to suggest that same-sex couples only "reproduce" via intentional surrogacy. In many of these cases, the "missing" biological parent will be a close friend (and not likely to be eliminated from the child's life) or an anonymous donor, as is the case with many forms of fertility treatment given to heterosexual couples.|
|65 Some other principle must take the place of the biological principle. That principle will be the state assignment of parental rights and responsibilities.||Besides being some libertarian scaremongering, this is irrelevant. The state already does assign parental rights, as the state represents the society that generates and respects such rights.|
|66 Judges in Washington State created a four-part test to determine whether an unrelated adult counts as a child’s “de facto parent.” These determinations require family courts to examine the most private parts of the family’s life.
||Irrelevant. But here's a Law Blog talking about it. It's not 100% about same-sex couples.|
|67 Same sex marriage undermines the legal principle that children are entitled to a relationship with both parents.||Repeat of lots of other points.|
|68 Same sex marriage separates children from at least one of their parents, not due to extraordinary circumstances, as arise in adoption, but as a routine procedure.
||Here at no. 68 of 77 we get a reason why these arguments don't apply to heterosexual adoption: "that's different". But wait, how does this apply exclusively to same-sex marriage? Do same-sex couples not adopt? Only in Dr. Morse Ph.D's Catholic-centered (so much for this being "non-religious") view of marriage is it exclusively for raising children. So marriage itself has no effect on children in reality.|
|69 Adoption currently exists to give children the parents they need, not to give adults the children they want.||How this doesn't apply to heterosexual couples who want children isn't exactly clear. With an excess of children up for adoption, we need all the parents we can get and so any couple that can provide a good home should be allowed to do so. The alternative is to foist these children on parents who don't want them, young and inexperienced couples, or just any pairing drawn from a hat, or to simply leave orphaned children without parents of any kind. Same-sex couples looking to adopt (like most couples looking to adopt) do so because they have thought about it, are older, and are usually in a better position to raise children than couples that find themselves with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy early in their lives.|
Summary: This list is getting strange. It seems that all same-sex couples are selfish in "wanting" children. Does this imply that children are best raised in environments where they're not wanted? Further from that, it seems to be less about an issue of marriage and now more about scaremongering over the government controlling marriage rights. However, this list is supposedly "non-religious" in nature, so there can really be only two options for who controls and recognises marriage rights: the government or society. As arguments about what society wants seem to be largely ignored here (because you'd quickly find most of society is in favour of not arbitrarily restricting rights to groups of people these days) you're left with the government as a de facto provider and insurer of rights. So, why be scared of it, as without it marriage wouldn't exist at all?
Same sex marriage empowers the state at The expense of civil society
|70 Same sex marriage is a creation of the state. Man/woman marriage is an organic institution arising spontaneously from society.||Heterosexual couples exist. Heterosexual couples love each other. Therefore society recognises this commitment by providing legal rights to join people together. Gay couples exist. Gay couples love each other. Therefore society recognises this commitment by providing legal rights to join people together. Most surveys of the people who actually comprise society these days show greater support for recognizing same-sex couples' rights than ever. You cannot make the argument that marriage arises from society (it originally arose to secure ownership and property rights, as well as family and national alliances, with children cementing these things--such factors as love came into it fairly late) while ignoring the fact that society actually supports same-sex marriage.|
|71 The state will have to protect its creation of same sex marriage. Man/woman marriage can sustain itself.||Marriage is a legal union that confers rights to a married partner. This is recognised in law. Without a state, there is no law. Without a state, there is no enforcement of law. With no enforcement of law, there is no concept of marriage - indeed, if there was no state or law, polygamy and same-sex unions would effectively become legal and possible; no law would recognise them, but no law would prevent them either.|
|72 Governments will enforce the belief that same sex marriage is the equivalent of man/woman marriage.||Effectively a repeat/rewording of much of the above. Again, scaremongering over the "government", and "argument by definition".|
|73 Religious organizations of all kinds, potentially including schools, adoption agencies and marriage prep programs, may be subject to government regulation. Catholic adoption agencies have closed in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. The Catholic Archdiocese of the District of Columbia stopped providing health insurance to all spouses, once same sex marriage was created by the city council.||So much for the "non-religious" aspect of this list. The examples given were because these Catholic organisations voluntarily threw their toys out of the pram and closed because they were told that they could no longer discriminate. They caused others to suffer because they let their own bigotry get in the way of what was best for children. This is an example of the strong hurting the weak in order to get their way, and Dr. Morse Ph.D does her argument no favors by bringing it up and attempting to haphazardly twist it to fit her Catholic persecution complex.|
|74 Governments will enforce the belief that mothers and fathers are interchangeable.||Not enough information to really say what this means. Yet another slot and more of the word-count wasted. Also a rehash of 37-43.|
|75 In Massachusetts, a father objected to his kindergartner being read a picture book that featured two men as the romantic couple. The father was taken away in handcuffs from a public meeting. The state declared parents do not have a right to remove their children from lessons they find objectionable.
||Because Dr. Morse Ph.D fails to cite her work here, this is really really difficult to track down. But, after some Google time, it seems to refer to the Diversity Book and the "David Parker" incident. It takes a bit more Google-fu to track down sources for the story that aren't biased to the Religious Right, but at least one blog takes it on from the other perspective. What is clear from most sources is that the man, David Parker, was arrested for trespassing on school property and not for "bravely speaking up against the atrocity of child indoctrination by the homosexual agenda". |
|76 The government of Quebec insisted the Mennonites teach that homosexuality is normal to the handful of children in their little country school. The Mennonites refused, and at last notice, were considering leaving Quebec, rather than surrender the teaching of their children to the Provincial authorities.||Again, vague and uncited material, but as with no.73 this is really more a case of religious groups letting their bigotry triumph over many other factors.|
|77 Same sex marriage amounts to a hostile takeover of civil society by the state.||Tedious, scaremongering bullshit.|
Summary: This section summarises a religious persecution complex, rather than supposedly "non-religious" reasons to support something. There is really not much left here to say.
Out of 77 supposed reasons we have:
- 14 clear repeats of previous points
- 13 totally irrelevant points
- 7 blatant cases of "citation needed"
So that's 43 reasons, not 77. And that's being generous.
In general, the points fail to state:
- Why many of these arguments cannot be levied at heterosexual couples equally (for instance, entitlement to fertility treatment)
- Why support for same-sex marriage in society can be ignored if marriage stems from society, not religion
- Why many of the stated outcomes of allowing same-sex marriage are actually bad things
- Why, if it's important to have a father and mother, it is apparently worse to have two fathers or mothers than to have a single parent--given that the right wing isn't actively campaigning against divorce
- Any evidence that it actually is better to have a father and a mother
- How to reconcile the repeated assertions that children can only form good relationships with biological parents with the assertion that adoption is fine for heterosexual but not homosexual couples
- How cases of religious groups throwing a hissy-fit have a place in a "non-religious" list of reasons
In short: Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D, your mission to "make marriage cool" is failing miserably.