Social Question

dreamwolf's avatar

Would legalizing gay and lesbian marriage under the notion that equality is for all open a can of worms?

Asked by dreamwolf (3142 points ) September 26th, 2011

I’m pro gay and lesbian. I feel they deserve the right to marry. Couldn’t one argue however, since the gay and lesbian community is claiming equality for all and the right to marry anyone for all, it would leave incest open for marriage licenses as well? For instance, say a father wants to marry his daughter, and they claim they are in love, and they stand behind the “equality for all”? I wonder what a gay or lesbian person might think about this.

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38 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t believe “the gay and lesbian community” is claiming “the right to marry anyone for all.” They just want the right to marry each other. It’s a slippery slope argument that I think is kind of reactionary and not really valid. When fathers and daughters and sisters and brothers start lobbying and marching in the streets to demand that we overturn the laws that forbid them to marry, well, we will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it, but I seriously, seriously, doubt that we will ever come to it.

Blackberry's avatar

What? No. This is what we call a slippery slope fallacy.

By this logic, why didn’t the flood gates for incest open when we allowed different races to marry?

Aethelflaed's avatar

I can actually see the argument there on equality grounds. But, I don’t see the issue getting enough support to ever actually become a reality; those who are in favor of incest (or even ambivalent) are few and far between, hardly enough to get legislation passed or elect an official who champions this issue (much less enough officials to pass it through traditional legislative channels and not via referendum).

dreamwolf's avatar

@Aethelflaed I’m glad you can see the grounds in which the argument can go. I’m not trying to sway one way or another I’m thinking of strategy for the Gay and Lesbian community to not argue on the grounds of equality actually, for the reason that anyone can use it. That’s why I think the Equality sign might be taking away from the actual problem which is to marry each other. @Blackberry Yes I’m familiar with all fallacies actually. the point is gay and lesbians want to marry and receive benefits as well, on behalf the notion that equality is for all. Anyone can easily argue that there is no equality for all and that the gay and lesbian community should change their sign of ”=” something that has to do with the right to marry. Because “the straw man fallacy” (which takes an argument within the argument to destroy itself by virtue of someone else claiming the same notion, {which is the equality notion that anyone should marry anyone} easily destroys the initial argument. But I agree @lillycoyote Cross the bridge when we get there, but change the slogan from equality for all now, because incest love, is love none the less, and it is probable that eventually that can of worms will be opened up.

DominicX's avatar

@dreamwolf I don’t think “equality” is the same as “anything goes”. The equals sign refers specifically to sexual orientation; as in being gay is not inferior to being straight—it should be on an equal plane.

Blackberry's avatar

@dreamwolf I see what you mean, and it is interesting. Incestuous couples would have a valid premise if their numbers were big enough and they wanted to do it, assuming no one brought up the gene defect on kids as evidence against it.

dreamwolf's avatar

@DominicX Okay, I personally understand that. But there are tons of uneducated people who have never met a gay person in their lives and just detest it all together is what I’m getting at, and it would be easy to argue against.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Blackberry Maybe the floodgates for incest didn’t open with interracial marriage, but I think interracial marriage did open the path for gay marriage. Slippery slopes are only fallacies when each contingency isn’t established as a factual reality.

dreamwolf's avatar

@Blackberry Even if someone brought up the “gene defect” its quite equal to saying gays and lesbians can’t reproduce with each other anyhow. I think whatever we get out of this discussion will definitely empower a gay and lesbian community member and see how they can be attacked from this angle.

lillycoyote's avatar

@dreamwolf I disagree that “it is probable that eventually that can of worms will be opened up.” But, on the remote chance that it is, there are most likely not enough people interested in marrying their fathers or daughters that it would gain much traction. I am about practicalities, not philosophical quibbling. And, if the LBGT community drops it’s argument of equality what exactly do you propose they replace it with?

Blackberry's avatar

@Aethelflaed I agree.

@dreamwolf Two close family members are mixing their genes, while gay people can either adopt or get a surrogate (that isn’t a part of their immediate family) etc.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I believe that marriage should be the union between a man and a woman, but I’m not against gay marriage. I think when gays advocate equality for all, they mean rights for certain things, not rights to practice everything. It’s like we all advocate the right to vote, but we don’t mean giving the right to vote to children.

DominicX's avatar

@Aethelflaed

Looking back we could say that interracial marriage allowed gay marriage to become more accepted, but what makes it a slippery slope fallacy now is that we don’t know what legalizing gay marriage will do. It’s fallacious to say that it must allow incestuous marriage and all those other “pervert” marriage situations that follow since we have no idea. Additionally, one can simply argue that it won’t allow for those things.

@dreamwolf

I don’t think it’s that easy to argue against. Gay marriage is its own issue; it has nothing to do with incest. Yes, people who are against gay marriage probably will reference incest or pedophilia or whatever but there’s nothing attached to a gay marriage bill that says “bonus incest bill”. It’s its own issue. Maybe “equality for all” is too general of a statement. How about “equality for some”? :P

dreamwolf's avatar

@lillycoyote I honestly don’t know. I think it should be “civil union” because in my experience with the California Prop 8 thing is most who advocate it, just don’t want gays and lesbians married in churches under God. I’ve heard that a couple of times. So if the premise was that it was a Civil Union that would gain the same benefits as anyone else married, I think its a win win. Plus even gays and lesbians who believe in God know that God is present among them if they were to settle for Civil Union with out the use of a church. I propose the right to receive benefits and be acknowledged socially in devotion to each other. For me they are equal amongst people, and even incest people are equal in my opinion, thats their chosen love, of course most likely there are implications of morality issues and manipulative issues in regards to perhaps an older family member preying on the child, and I do also think it would be rare, but I do think the case would eventually appear.

dreamwolf's avatar

@Blackberry Yes I understand that as well, but scientifically, adopting, or surrogate usage is actually a sign of no “fitness” in regards to passing on a couples genes.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The institution of marriage is not static and has changed significantly over time. Married women used to be the legal property of their husbands, Asian immigrants were prohibited from marrying each other, and interracial marriages were prohibited by anti-miscegenation laws. A strong institution accommodates social and cultural shifts. Granting the LGBT community the right to marry is simply the evolution of human rights. Source

Aethelflaed's avatar

@dreamwolf Being able to legally marry doesn’t mean any religious institutions have to follow suit; no church is forced to wed a couple they don’t want to (homosexual or otherwise).

DominicX's avatar

@dreamwolf

Gay marriage being legal doesn’t necessarily mean they will be married in churches (and keep in mind that churches are not going to be forced to perform gay marriages, though they can perform them if they want to).

dreamwolf's avatar

I really don’t care where they are married. As long as they get benefits like any other couple. The paper work needs to be there. Times have changed, and they are hard working citizens in my opinion. I guess it’ll all just work itself out in “separate” notions. But yes that statement “Equality for All” is beyond general, literally anyone can use it.

Blackberry's avatar

Although, if you’re going to fight for rights, I believe in going all the way. This settling for civil union stuff is nonsense. It’s simply surrendering for “good enough”, which still shows that the majority is so mind-numbingly ignorant that they’re still putting gays below them. I almost see it as a bigger insult to say “Well, we’ll at least give you guys this so you’ll shut up…”

dreamwolf's avatar

@Blackberry Well that’s hard to say that is just “settling” because marriage is derivative from the Bible, in the minds of probably a majority of Americans. I say settle, because it’s a win win. Let’s be honest, unless you’re in a progressive state, growing up with two same sex parents is going to be a tough transition for at least the next decade or so. I feel some people think its strange that interracial is going on. It’s all politics, and I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I’m either going to help fight the good fight for whatever I believe is right, or just quit politics all together because of the “mind numbingly ignorant” people out there. And I don’t mean give up on society but probably just live my life the best way I can and lead by example but not be a political advocate. So much nonsense! Let’s make for a New Modern Era Beatnik Guild.

DominicX's avatar

@dreamwolf

But marriage isn’t derived from the Bible, no matter what people think. And since in this country, marriage has legal, secular, non-religious significance, there’s no reason why gay people should be barred from that.

dreamwolf's avatar

@DominicX I agree with your latter statement. I don’t know how definite your first statement is however. I mean none of us have the true answer to it, but what most understand is that the Bible talks about marriage, period, and arguments arrise against GLC from there. It’s all sticky. :/

DominicX's avatar

@dreamwolf How definite it is is based on the fact that cultures had marriage before the Bible was even written. It just bugs me when people try and act like marriage is exclusively religious or exclusively Christian when it so isn’t.

dreamwolf's avatar

@DominicX Agreed same here. And that is there ammo that it is derivative of the Bible and thats whats preached, its all wrong, thats why Jesus himself said throw away your religion and simply said live as I have and I will live in you. But you know, fundamentalist get all crazy together in church and stuff when really it should be about peace and love and not putting others down ever. and if the law doesn’t fit right with the times, we have the right to change the law.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Once gay marriages permeate most of the states, or all of them, in the US, it might not open the floodgates to everything. I do not think I will live long enough to see a time where someone can legally marry and animal, at least I hope I don’t. I will say it, and take the flax for it too, that any gay person who would want to bar polygamous, (or other plural marriages), and incestuous marriages are a disingenuous fraud. It is like saying. “Those straight people are the ‘A’ team and they have the gold standard of relationship, which is why we want it. Not to have it the same way makes us less than. Those people over there in the ‘C’ team are having what they have outside the construct of the ‘A’ team, but since we are the ‘B’ team, and thus, closer to the ‘A’ team than them, we should get what we want and they can wait another X amount of years before they are worthy to have it.”

If you want so much to separate church and state then there is nothing to prevent polygamy or even incestuous marriages. There can be rules put into place to address any concerns, and to try to use the red herring of government getting in the bedroom, they already do,—maybe not much for most, but they do, even in the household to a greater extent—, is a duck, dodge and hide maneuver. Like trying to say you can’t count a slippery slope, it don’t mean anything. Just because A happens, D won’t ever happen and we will never see Z.

As much as people would hate to have to admit, in the US many basic laws are riding the back of Judea/Christian ethics, that came with the original settlers when they fled Europe, if I am not mistaken, in part to get from under the Pope. Outside of religion, gay marriage is on the same footing and in the same boat as polygamy and incestuous marriages. The only reason why incestuous marriages did not take hold after the walls to interracial marriages, which was not the whole US anyhow, started to crumble was the ick factor of it; the Judea/Christian residue stuck in general society. There have been unions between different races for centuries. Even while the settlers were slaughtering the Native Americans and stealing their land many found it OK to marry some.

Interracial unions IMO got more traction than gays is because gay unions biologically hold up to interracial marriages and unions. Man and women naturally go together biologically, to produce another human. Unless there is some medical condition that leaves one sterile, that is the case way more times than not. Just as I am using this computer to create this post, men and women are like software, and hardware. If I had two towers here and no OS (the software) to run it, they would serve as two very large paperweights, with whirling fans and blinking lights but no work would come of them. The monitor would have no useful info on it. If I was to get rid of both towers and got two discs with operation systems on it, I am no better off. I might as well use them as drink coaster, because I would have no way to extract the information off them. A Blank man, and a white woman, or Hispanic woman and an Asian man, can still produce a child, naturally, with out having to go to doctors and perform extraordinary measures. If it were not for the ”ick factor” even incestuous unions win in that arena.

The way I see it, all the saber rattling and ballyhoo the GLBT community is doing to get theirs but trying to distance themselves from those “nasty polygamist”, and even “nastier inbreeds” is just plain disingenuous if they want me to take them seriously. If it is truly abut freedom and equality with no religious undertones, then everyone gets on the boat, you don’t leave some to flounder in the water because you don’t like what they are wearing or the music they dance to.

ucme's avatar

Sheesh, we’ll be having foks marry their pets next.“I don’t know what the world’s coming to Beryl I really don’t!!”
I just think as long as it’s consensual & both parties are happy with the arrangement, it’s nobodies business but their own.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you asking about an underage daughter, or an adult daughter?

I don’t agree there is much of a slippery slope on the issue. Civil marriage is a legal contract between to people. The state should not be able to say which gender can enter the legal partnership. The only thing that should apply is what applies to all contracts, age of majority and of sound mind.

@dreamwolf Clergy is never going to be forced to marry anyone. There are Rabbis and Priests who won’t do interreligious marriages, the law has never and will never try to change that. Clergy have the right to only marry who they feel meets the requirements of their church. Religious marriage and civil marriage are completely separate. The only reason Americans, and I am assuming you are American, get confused and mush it al together is because we let pur clergy preferom the cerempny for the state. In other countries Ministers are not saying, “and by the powers vested in me by the state of New Jersey, I know pronounce you husband and wife.” Just another reason church and state should be completely separate.

tom_g's avatar

I just attended a same-sex marriage on Sunday. I live in MA, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004. People didn’t start marrying their microwave ovens. My opposite-sex marriage didn’t fall apart. The state didn’t fall into the ocean. The only thing that changed is that all of the same-sex “married” couples could drop the quotes and have access to all of the rights of opposite-sex married couples.

This one is pretty simple…..

@dreamwolf: “Couldn’t one argue however, since the gay and lesbian community is claiming equality for all and the right to marry anyone for all, it would leave incest open for marriage licenses as well?”

Sure they could argue that. They argued it when people were calling for the repeal of interracial marriage laws (“anti-miscegenation laws”). But arguing for one group of people to have the right to do something is not arguing for all groups of people to have that right. When interracial laws were repealed, it did not open up marriage for same-sex couples, father/daughter relationships, man/horse relationships, etc.

The mere fact that same-sex marriage advocates are having to fight for this right is evidence that the slippery slope does not apply here, because it didn’t apply to them.

At this point, the burden is on anti-gay marriage hold-outs to provide a good reason why the law should not be applied without bias. There are tons of

Marriage is a legal agreement between two consenting adults. Less-civilized states declare that these consenting adults must be of 2 different genders. So, the question is, why are you making this arbitrary condition? Remember, the arbitrary condition before was race.

@dreamwolf: “For instance, say a father wants to marry his daughter, and they claim they are in love, and they stand behind the “equality for all”?”

When consenting adult fathers and adult daughters are living among us as “married” couples, and they start demanding the rights that other married couples enjoy, then – and only then – are we required to entertain this. It is not related to the topic of same-sex marriage at all.

Brian1946's avatar

One fallacy is that same-sex≠same-biological-family.

Incest can be heterosexual or homosexual, so same-sex marriage advocates have no more philosophical onus to consider the claims for incestuous marriages than heterosexual-only marriage advocates do.

Therefore, granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples wouldn’t open the doors for incestuous marriages anymore than heterosexual marriages do.

Brian1946's avatar

@Brian1946

“One fallacy is that same-sex≠same-biological-family.”

What I should have said is, “One fallacy seems to overlook that same-sex≠same-biological-family”.

tom_g's avatar

If you are concerned that same-sex marriage will open the door to father/daughter marriages, or polygamous marriages, then please answer this question:

If you did not have this worry, would you support same-sex marriage? In other words, if there was no other group waiting for these rights, would you support dropping the arbitrary opposite-sex requirement for marriage?

Think about that for minute. Did you think about it? Great. Think about it again.

If you answered “hell yes!” to this question, good for you. We all agree to support same-sex marriage. If or when the fight for father/daughter marriage arises, let us revisit this discussion and we can determine how to handle that issue.

That’s the way it works. You can propose an increase in the speed limit on a stretch of highway from 55 mph to 65 mph without claiming that it “opens the door” to speed limits of 150 mph.

tom_g's avatar

If you answered “hell no!” to the question above, then drop the “opens the door”/slippery slope nonsense and get to work developing a coherent argument to support why same-sex couples should be denied the rights of opposite-sex couples.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Would legalizing gay and lesbian marriage under the notion that equality is for all open a can of worms?
No, however those opposed to it will certainly claim it as “opening the floodgates” to anything and everything. Such arguments ignore the fact that each “thing” is a separate entity that must be argued and stand on it’s own merits.

…is claiming equality for all and the right to marry anyone for all, it would leave incest open for marriage licenses as well?
It may encourage those who believe equal marriage between incestuous couples should be accepted but they would have to argue the merits of their own situation. Riding on the coat-tails of an equal gay marriage act would likely make their case, justification, and position easier but it wouldn’t obviate the need for it.

ratboy's avatar

Next people will insist on the right to marry corporations on the grounds that all “people” have the same rights.

Blackberry's avatar

@ratboy Oh snap! And then have their child, divorce them, and collect the 18 years of payments! Genius….

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not at all clear on how the two issues are related. I guess just because it’s marriage. By that logic, we should be saying that since men and women are allowed to be married, then we should allow people to marry horses… or other animals.

The rights to consecrate incest have nothing to do with merits of gay marriage. Each type of marriage has to be taken on its own. Sure, to some degree the distinctions between types of marriages are bogus, but we do make such distinctions and that is quite appropriate. Incest has nothing to do with gay marriage. The issues are quite different.

With incest there is a popular belief that incest causes genetic illnesses, and most people think that is why it is outlawed. In addition, I should point out that in most cases, if you want to marry your father or mother, they are generally already married. Bigamy is still illegal, too.

However, if you want incestual marriage or bigamy, it seems to me that you can’t say those should be allowed because gay marriage is allowed or because straight marriage is allowed. They are different kinds of issues and conflating them together is irrational in the extreme.

lillycoyote's avatar

@tom_g you said:

If you are concerned that same-sex marriage will open the door to father/daughter marriages, or polygamous marriages, then please answer this question:

__If you did not have this worry, would you support same-sex marriage? In other words, if there was no other group waiting for these rights, would you support dropping the arbitrary opposite-sex requirement for marriage?__

Think about that for minute. Did you think about it? Great. Think about it again.

_If you answered “hell yes!” to this question, good for you. We all agree to support same-sex marriage. If or when the fight for father/daughter marriage arises, let us revisit this discussion and we can determine how to handle that issue.__

That’s the way it works. You can propose an increase in the speed limit on a stretch of highway from 55 mph to 65 mph without claiming that it “opens the door” to speed limits of 150 mph.

and

If you answered “hell no!” to the question above, then drop the “opens the door”/slippery slope nonsense and get to work developing a coherent argument to support why same-sex couples should be denied the rights of opposite-sex couples.

@dreamwolf said, in the details of the question:

“I’m pro gay and lesbian. I feel they deserve the right to marry.”

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