In order to make a morally just decision in the matter of the government licensing same-sex marriage, I feel obligated to examine the arguments against allowing such an institution before coming to a conclusion.
Part 2 – Historical Arguments:
In human history no society has ever allowed homosexual marriage, therefore it should remain one man, one woman.
Observationally, this is essentially true. Humanity has always had pockets of society that approve of plural marriage and incestuous marriage, but not same-sex marriage. Some societies throughout history have tolerated and even somewhat promoted homosexuality, but never sanctioned traditional marriage for same-sex partners. However, observation, while an extremely important part of the scientific method, is not reason. Observation does not answer why, and it lumps those societies that have been relatively tolerant of homosexuality together with those that are very intolerant, without attempting to understand the differences. This very argument was used in the 18th and 19th centuries as a justification to continue the institution of slavery. We need more than observational science if we are to deny rights to a perennial segment of society. We need a logical proof.
Marriage is an institution designed specifically for the generation of children.
Historically this is essentially true, although it is not like there actually was a design team out there that drew up some sort of “marriage plan” and then passed that design around the globe 15,000 years ago so everyone could be on the same page. Still, marriage is the traditional context in which society generates families, especially in the major religions.
However, socially, in a world of over seven billion people, the need to go forth and multiply has come to an end. We have successfully fulfilled that mandate. Humanity has gone forth and multiplied, and now a lot of married folk are choosing to limit the number of children they have, or simply not have them at all. These marriages remain just as legally valid as the couple that has eight or ten children. Procreation is no longer the sole purpose of marriage. In that context, even though the fundamental purpose of sex is reproduction, what is the social difference between a childless, monogamous, committed same-sex couple and a childless, monogamous, committed heterosexual couple? There is no legal requirement that a marriage produce children.
Some religions may teach this as a moral wrong, including my own Catholic faith, but have yet to provide the logic proof to back up the argument. Even Pope John Paul II’s fundamental argument has a logic gap that ruins his proof, and he was as smart as they get. Also consider the number of children born out-of-wedlock. Not good. Not illegal.
When put to a public vote, the public always votes against allowing same-sex marriage.
This is a fairly strong argument under most circumstances. In general, societies that are truly democratic are more peaceful and prosperous than those where a central power dictates to the majority and minority without regard to the will of the people. However there are many issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, national health care and gender reassignment, where the government either ignores or overrides the will of the people. I am not saying it is right or wrong to ignore the rule of the majority, only that using the “will of the people” argument is not valid because the government already ignores the “will of the people” much of the time, and sometimes the will of the majority is to persecute the minority. Islam is its own worst enemy in this regard. Since the “will of the people” argument has so many exceptions, it cannot be used as a valid rationale.