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Now that gay marriage is our most talked-about domestic policy issue, it is time to rebut faulty arguments that bedevil it. While we could provide biblical and theological grounds for what follows, we will focus on the practical and social effects of changing society's first and most basic institution.

Bad argument No. 1

"Gay marriage is a basic human right."

There are huge differences between constitutional rights with few restrictions (such as the rights to life or free speech) and other rights with important restrictions, which do not carry the right of universal access. We already recognize that not everyone has the right to enlist in the army, but that one must be of the proper age, physical condition, citizenship, and philosophy—anarchists and pacifists need not apply. We also agree that certain persons do not have the right to marriage—children, multiple partners, family members, and those already married.

Bad argument No. 2

"Gay marriage is a civil right."

This is based on the false assumption that homosexuality is the same sort of human difference as race. But while the difference between sexual orientations is profound (one desires the opposite sex and procreates while the other does neither), racial difference has no intrinsic bearing on love and marriage. This is why philosophically opposed African American leaders such as Shelby Steele and Jesse Jackson agree that "gay marriage is simply not a civil rights issue."

Bad argument No. 3

"Opposition to gay marriage is discrimination."

Let's not mistake rational restriction for unconstitutional discrimination. Just as we rightly restrict marriage against polygamists, there is no constitutional reason why we cannot continue to restrict marriage to what all civilizations ...

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In the Magazine

September 2004

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