Monday, June 21, 2010

Get Rid Of Slimy huckabeeS

When I made the assertion that opposition to gay marriage comes from people saying "eww, icky," I got a lot of opposition from Matt. Well, Matt, here's well-known gay marriage opponent Mike Huckabee basically saying his opposition to gay marriage is because it's icky.


Mike said...

Excellent "Calvin and Hobbes" reference, sir.

Mike said...

Oh, and substantively, based on the excerpt provided in that link, I disagree with the assertion that Huckabee is saying he's against it for the "ick factor". He essentially acknowledges that, ick factor aside, there is still a clear biological difference between same- and different-sex couplings, which is difficult to argue against (and in fact echoes what I believe has also been Matt's primary argument).

That having been said, I still don't see it as a strong enough argument against gay marriage.

Matthew B. Novak said...

You know, I've kind of mellowed on this issue recently. I've been in favor of civil unions for some time now, and I think you guys have probably gotten at least some of that in our discussions in the past, right?

But a couple things... first, I think Mike is right, Huckabee seems to be saying more than the ick factor is relevant, though he doesn't discount the ick factor.

Second, just because one opponent cites the ick factor doesn't mean there aren't valid reasons to be raised too. Honestly, I'm a little surprised you'd couch this link in terms that confront my assertion that there are non-ick reasons to oppose same-sex marriage.

Third, there are non-ick reasons to oppose same-sex marriage. I mean, the fact is, there is a definitional difference between a heterosexual couple and a same-sex couple. One can create offspring, the other can't.

Is that enough of a distinction to deny marriage to same-sex couples? Maybe, maybe not. That's the relevant debate. I think same-sex marriage advocates would do well to address this directly. Claiming that opponents are just grossed out mis-characterizes the opponent's argument and undercuts the legitimacy of the argument being put forth by same-sex marriage advocates.

Jeff said...

Matt, I appreciate the reasons for opposition to same-sex marriage but I don't think any of them could explain the current state of legal marriage except for the "ick" factor.

You point to the essence of the procreative union as the main (legit) argument for the continued ban on same-sex marriage, but were that the reason for the ban there would be bans on other marriages as well - for instance, those involving post-menopausal women or men who have had vasectomies. Since those bans do not exist, we have to eliminate the procreative nature of one relationship as a potential reason for the ban. Otherwise, if we wished to adopt this notion of marriage as the operable legal idea, we would have to extend the ban to all marriages that can not result in children. It simply isn't logically consistent to claim that marriage licenses should be given out on the basis of procreative ability/desire and then not follow all the way through with that notion.

So we're left, mainly, with the ick factor, unless there's something else I'm missing.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Well yeah, there is something you're missing...

You're lumping the effect (not able to have kids) with the cause (infertility, age, same-sex). So, although in effect a same-sex couple and an old couple both can't have children, the causes behind that effect are vastly different. A same-sex couple cannot have children by definition. An old couple can't have children because of impediment. That is, a man and a woman certainly could have children but for something getting in the way (i.e. age). One is a union definitionally capable of procreation, one is not.

That being the case, if we decide to draw the line at same-sex marriage because of the procreation argument we do not have to include all couples that can't have kids.

(As an aside, I remember the first time I made this argument, it took me ages to get it out and form it. It's gotten much more concise. I take that to be a good thing.)