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Last One on Gay Marriage
for a while

I'll keep this brief since I've written a lot on the subject already. Jimmie responded to some of my arguments on his blog in the post Gay Marriage Redux. I'm just going to respond to one of the things he wrote, for the sake of keeping it short:
Let me sum that up. In Scandinavia, gay marriage was both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of marrage. How great an effect it has is dependent on two other factors which, to this point, so not yet exist largely in America. But that does not mean that they will not exist. As Kurtz says, one tends to bring the others. That happens because legalizing another "form" of marriage equates it with the one we already have. It says that the family is anything we make it, so long as the two people involved love each other. HAC asserts, "You, or Kurtz at least, want to outlaw same-sex marriage just because you think it might eventually change the way people think about marriage". Well, almost. We want to keep same sex marriages outlawed (remember, it's only legal in one state) because we know it has changed the way people think about marriage. That is exactly what has happened in those other countries - that much is pretty clear from the work Kurtz has done and even the Los Angeles Times noted this in an article Kurtz cited.

Response:

So apparently the justification for banning (or maintaining the ban on) gay/same-sex marriages is because they might/will change the way people think about marriage. Well I, for one, do not want the government prohibiting anything for the purpose of controlling what people think about this or that. I don't want to live in Walden 2 with Skinnerian psychologists making the decisions about what the law will be merely based on what desirable or undesirable effects those laws might have.

What ever happened to good old-fashioned, and dare I say traditional, notions of freedom? If the government can outlaw something, not because it does any actual harm, but because it might correlate with a chance in people's attitudes that might correlate with a higher percentage of people who choose to do things that are actually harmful, then isn't the government also destroying the traditional notion of freedom and individual liberty? As I said before, whatever correlation there is, if there is in fact any, is so small compared to the correlations between other activities that we are free to do and crime/povery/out-of-wedlock-birth and more.

Why don't we bring back prohibition of alcohol? They weren't so good at enforcing it last time, but I'm sure they good could it another shot. There's no real benefit to allowing it (sorry, Ben), and I'm sure the legality of alcohol has significant correlation to drunk driving deaths and injuries. And we can go ahead and ban fatty foods as well - there's certainly a correlation between those and health problems related to obesity, right?

In the end, I think the main failure of Jimmie's argument is that he does not address the important questions: Why it is okay to prohibit something to 'improve society' even though that thing does not cause any real, substantial, direct harm? Why is it okay for the government to pass laws intended to control what people think? Because that's the purpose of the ban, for his argument - to prevent a change in people's attitudes toward marriage. What right do we have to prevent people from changing what they think? And most of all, if that reason is enough to ban gay marriage, won't that open the door to all kinds of other legislation that will severely erode any personal freedoms we have in the name of 'bettering society'?

What do YOU think?
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