In so many ways I tend towards this thinking however I believe that no one has the right to change what is considered a natural tendency that is marriage, something that has existed before government and before religion.
I'd say this is a very hasty argument to make. Both religion and marriage predate recorded history, and you couldn't say reliably that one came before the other; almost as soon as hominids got to the proverbial scene, they had religious ideas. This isn't to say that marriage definitely came afterward; however, you couldn't possibly support the view that marriage came before government and religion, especially since religion is (understandably) one of the first things we bothered to do.
Our perception of marriage is to take it as it is presented to us now and find someway to fit that peg into history. We do this by making the statements: marriage is about two consenting adults. Marriage is about love. Marriage is about responsibility. But can we find some semblance of marriage outside of human reason? For example we see certain animals act in ways that have similarities to our practice of marriage: eagles that are monogamous, mother and father species taking care of their young until the young can survive (responsibility). However we as a species define marriage beyond this by using words like consent thus limited the idea of marriage to a more rational like idea. Like Darwin who would argue that humans and animals are shown to possess similar traits in order to show a progress of evolution from the animal state to the human state, would it be a viable argument/hypothesis to say that marriage predates the moment of our reason and has evolved into something that lends itself to a more rational idea? I don't think it's a hasty argument if we want to view marriage as an evolving species, but even with this argument then I would have to concede that marriage is a trait that needs to change as we do. Here we have another question then, when does something cease to be what it original was after so many metamorphesis. For example, take a box. One day the box changes color, but it is still a box. Another day, it develops legs, but it is still a box. Arms, a mouth, a tail form and the body changes to be more of a rectangle. Is it still a box? If we can at least agree that it is no longer a box then we must present ourselves with the challenging question, if marriage is shown to exist before reason in one form and continues to evolve over time, at what point must we concede that it is no longer a marriage? Furthermore who has the right to make that claim? A box is no longer a box once we define it outside the terms of a box. The main argument with marriage is how we are defining it, but is this definition an evolution of marriage or are we trying to simply make it more clear and this new definition has always been there. I would argue the former.
The challenge here, is what happens after its changed? Will those who fought to create this new "right" of marriage now be steadfast to hold to their definition when others come along to stake their claim at what marriage should be? For example what happens when polygomy is brought to the table? Will those who have redefined marriage not allow marriage to be redefined for these people? There are now rites that exist for those who wish to marry animals, which means this sort of practice exists already. Shall the definition of marriage be adjusted for them too? Once the camel's nose is the perverbal tent we have to expect the whole camel will eventually want to force its way in. Is society ready to make room for such adjustments now that it has opened the doors to same-sex marriage?
A slippery slope argument, you say? How wonderful!
A doctor comes up to you and says if you keep to your diet you will have a heart attack. Is this a slippery slope argument? A lawyer tells you unless you plea bargain you will be sentenced to death. Is this a slippery slope argument? An economist declares because the economy has improved jobs will increase in the future. Is this a slippery slope argument? It bothers me that people like to throw statements around like a slippery slope argument, straw man, circular reasoning, etc, but fail to understand how an argument which could appear as such, actually has a well formed argument past it. For example, let's go back in history to when the lady spilled coffee on her lap. If I were to say, the outcome of this legal case will now be the camel's nose in the tent opening up kinds of ridiculous lawsuits and a victimless society. Based on your conviction that my statement above is slippery slope you would have to make the same logical leap for this as well. But we know that once a precedent is made, people will move in on that precedent to open it even wider than it was before. To declare that same-sex marriage is an equal right will lead to others asking their idea of marriage is an equal right. Polygamy is practiced today and these people want to see it legal. Just as the woman spilling coffee on her lap lead to her receiving millions of dollars led to frivolous lawsuits, the equal rights fight to same-sex marriage will lead others to fight for similar rights. How can you believe this is a slippery slope when same-sex advocates point to their fight being the same as the civil rights movement? Are we saying that the civil rights movement leading to same-sex marriage is a slippery slope argument? A slippery slope argument is only that unless the chain is completed. Because I am 37, Obama will lose the election. There is no chain of events leading to this conjecture. however because I am 37 there will be 37 candles on my birthday cake. Whether or not 37 candles appear on my birthday cake is irrelevant, the conclusion itself can be drawn from the opening statement.
Here's the rub: we "secularists", to the extent that that is in fact a group of people who share similar viewpoints, are actually logical human beings. There is, in fact, no secularist agenda to speak of; what we want is for everybody to have equal rights, regardless of any competing religious viewpoints.
That is an agenda, regardless if you don't want it to be. Also your argument that secularists share similar viewpoints can be related to a religious group such as Catholics who have similar viewpoints about morals and can also be called logical human beings. I never made the assertion that secularists are not logical so I would appreciate it you didn't force the issue.
What we have found is that marriage offers people certain economic perks; as is well-documented in this thread, you're better off economically if you're married. This is fine, except that there's an entire group of people that can't get married by definition - homosexuals. By the very nature of marriage, this right is systematically denied to homosexuals who want to get married, and we "secularists" think that is gross.
It's a fair point too, but as I stated above, when does marriage stop becoming a marriage? Governments support marriage because it supports a community. If the government wants to change their view of marriage based on the governmental idea of it supporting community they have every right to make that change. To assume this definition moves past the government idea though is like assuming American Democracy must therefore change the definition of democracy as a whole. Since that hasn't happened, I see no reason to make the government's idea of marriage the concept of marriage outside government, especially since we can establish that marriage is a part of human nature. If this is the case we can't put the cart before the horse.
How will we keep from re-redefining marriage in the future? Namely because there's no logical reason to push for anything else. As soon as you can marry someone of your own gender, things are equal; marriage is now defined as any consenting person forming a loving union with any other consenting person, which is perfect because the right of marriage is denied to nobody. Polygamy or animal-human marriage don't come with the package because this definition is fine, and because polygamy and zoophilia have always been illegal in this country anyway. Even "secularists" concede that there's no reason to redefine marriage to include these things, as there's no logical or social support for them.
I'm not quite too sure how you can openly state with confidence that because polygomy is illegal it is therefore wrong and hold onto an idea that same-sex marriage is right when it was illegal in the past. How can you justify your position if polygomy is made legal in certain states (namely Utah is my guess)? You are going to have to reconcile your position on what makes an equal right especially in the light that polygomy can be argued to be logical and a social support in a similar manner that same-sex marriage is. As you stated above marriage is now defined as
between two consenting adults. What will you do if that position is yet again challenged? People are willing to go so far as to accept same-sex marriage under a certain umbrella but are unwilling to accept other like ideas under this same umbrella.
Also, don't be scared of re-definition. Contrary to your belief, marriage is not some unchanging, eternal fact of life. In fact, I recall a pretty significant change made to marriage not long ago which is, in my opinion, analogous to the situation we're in now. And people didn't start having sex with goats once this decision was made, mind.
You forget once this decision was made same-sex couples didn't start to marry. But you also fail to recognize that same-sex marriage is an event related to this event in that most advocates such as yourself use the civil rights movement as a means to support it. That in itself provides the necessary motion for society to move in a similar direction. It may not happen for a while, however because polymogy is practiced, because there are actual examples of people marrying animals, I find it amazing that people would assume that such a case will never come up. My prediction is once same-sex marriage is legal in the majority of states, polygamy will be brought to the table. Arguments will be made for it and those who seem to be against it will have to defend their definition of marriage in the same way those against are arguing. Do you truly believe that same-sex marriage is the end all for marriage, that it cannot be changed past that? If so, how do you reconcile this with your statement marriage is not some unchanging, eternal fact of life? Can you not therefore concede that if marriage is to open up to polymogy that you must therefore accept it as an unchanging eternal fact of life?
Right now we are seeing a growing majority of secularist authority.
I'd argue that it's a good thing when people start to care more about equality than what they think their god might have to say on the topic.
I'm sorry but when people start to think that religion is antithesis to equality that is a bad thing and congruous to bigotry and primarily not true but due to past events I under no circumstances will have that discussion here.
I cannot begin to articulate how frustrating it is that this....this....... *deep breath* ......this.....um...... argument .....*more deep breaths* has to come up in every thread on this topic.
I cannot begin to articulate how frustrating it is that this....this......*deep breath*.....this......umm......
response ..... *more deep breaths* has to rear its ugly head in every thread on this topic.