4. Marriage should be just for child-rearing

My first thought at assertions like this is: "Why?" Kids don't care if there's a piece of paper holding their family together — and that piece of paper has proven notoriously incapable of doing so anyway.

However, let's work through this theory rationally. If marriage is just for child-rearing, then that doesn't exclude same-sex couples who wish to adopt, or where one of them contributes in creating a child.

Non-breeders need not apply!

If what the argument was really meant to say was that marriage should be just for those who will breed and raise a child, I'd be a little disturbed. Firstly, we're more than just baby-making machines, and I wouldn't care to so restrict or categorize someone else's life choices. Also, that's both thoughtlessly cruel and patently unfair to anyone who's incapable of having children, but has or wishes to adopt and lovingly raise a child. I know of several truly loving families where none of the kids were born of the married parents.

This also means older couples would be automatically excluded. They've already had their kids, after all, and they can't have any more. What does this mean — their marriage is worthless, is non-existent now? I know I don't want to be the one to give them such a cruelly unfeeling message.

What if you marry someone in good faith, planning to have a child, then find out you can't? Should your spouse dump you for someone who can, so they can say they're really married? Maybe they could keep you around as a part-time paramour and nanny, since you're sterile?

What if there are tax benefits for being married, as there are today? If you marry but don't have kids, how long should you be allowed those benefits? If you have an abortion, should your marriage be revoked? If you find out you can't have children, but you're married, should the government get involved, and penalize you for fraud?

What about couples where one person chooses sterilization for ethical reasons — should the demand to breed trump ethics, reason, or thought? Should we make birth control illegal? If the couple hasn't bred yet, maybe they're not having enough sex — could we mandate sex therapy for them? Maybe wearing a condom could be considered an act of civil disobedience! Better yet, could we get tax benefits for sex toys as marital aids? ;-)

Yes, I know the above is nasty, unrealistic, and silly. Most arguments, this one included, when taken to their logical extremes are both absurd, and lacking in any sound basis in reality.

5. Homosexuality is unnatural

This one is easy. First let's define "natural" and "unnatural," so we know precisely what we're talking about, then check and see which definition works best to describe homosexual behavior. With a quick thank you to the ever-helpful RhymeZone, we find the following:

unnatural: (adjective) not in accordance with or determined by nature; contrary to nature

natural: (adjective)

  1. unthinking; prompted by (or as if by) instinct,
  2. in accordance with nature; relating to or concerning nature,
  3. existing in or produced by nature; not artificial or imitation,
  4. existing in or in conformity with nature or the observable world; neither supernatural nor magical,
  5. (biology) functioning or occurring in a normal way; lacking abnormalities or deficiencies

Guess what — homosexual behavior has been scientifically documented as occurring naturally in more than 450 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and other animals worldwide. That means it fulfills the criterion for all five definitions of the word "natural," but doesn't fulfill the one single criteria for the word "unnatural."

That's pretty darned definitive. Don't just take my word for it, though — read Bruce Bagemihl's wonderfully droll (and huge) book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.

Who's really unnatural?

Indeed, if anything could be defined as "unnatural," it would be human behavior, in our modern societies, towards homosexual behavior. From the editorial review of the book on amazon.com, we find:

  1. An overview of biologists' discomfort with their own observations of animal homosexuality over 200 years would be truly hilarious if it didn't reflect a tendency of humans (and only humans) to respond with aggression and hostility to same-sex behavior in our own species.
  2. …scientists have sometimes been afraid to report their observations for fear of recrimination from a hidebound (and homophobic) academia.
  3. Scientists' use of anthropomorphizing vocabulary such as insulting, unfortunate, and inappropriate to describe same-sex matings shows a decided lack of objectivity on the part of naturalists.

That's just sad, when empirical objectivity goes out the door due to societal pressure. What happened to logic and reason, to academic honesty? What has happened to us, that we feel such unreasoning fear of even the reporting of natural, normal behavior? We need to get over this sort of unreasoning, knee-jerk reaction.

Why? Why not?

So I have to ask — why not tolerance? They're paying their taxes and supporting society. They're not destroying it, as San Francisco and New York City show. Neither of those cities have fallen into the sea, or been turned to salt, or anything similar.

The argument for the inherent failure of society due to a scary upcoming cultural change was used in the United States against blacks when they were allowed to own property, and against women when they were given the right to vote. And yet, somehow we're still here, chugging along without some mythical apocalypse having come crashing down on us yet.

Change is a constant in every society; it's part of growth. To fear change, to try to enforce unchanging constancy, is stagnation… and eventually death.

When I hear folks being repressive, fearful, or religiously intolerant about marriage, I can't help but remember Winston S. Churchill's stirring words:

"You do your worst — and we will do our best."

I don't know how Mr. Churchill would feel about the subject, but I think what he said is still valid today, as an uplifting call to arms for those who believe in the inherent dignity of human nature.

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