“That’s Gay!”—What am I missing?

Secular Arguments against Gay Marriage:  What are they?

The other day a gay friend of mine and I were talking.  We came to a conclusion that was very obvious to us, very quickly.  That being—without religion there would be no real objection to gay marriage.  By “real”, we meant any form of organized opposition.  As foolish as it is to me, religion has, in its own eyes, “real” moral opposition to gay marriage.  It is “real” to them anyway.  If we take religion out of the equation what is left to oppose gay marriage?

We could only come up with one answer.  That homophobia could have a secular foundation in the way that some forms of racism, sexism, etc do.  (We did observe that racism, sexism, etc. are all propagated by religions, but can exist independently as well).  It would be possible for a person to “dislike” someone who is homosexual simply because they are different than the norm.  From this starting point, it would not be hard to take this “dislike” and try to deny that person rights, such as marriage.  All of this is possible without religion.  There is one problem with this argument though.  That type of secular discrimination is not accepted publicly in the U.S.  It exists to be sure—but no one enjoys being called racist, sexist, etc.  These things are common taboo’s at this point in our history.  This type of objection could never mount the strong opposition needed to defeat gay marriage laws.  The only justification for them that seems to be acceptable is a biblical one.

When I reflect on this, it really makes me angry.  Personally, I support gay marriage.  Yet I can’t help but think that its opposition is another way in which religious teaching is being coerced onto government policy.  That without religion, we would not even have much of a debate.  As a skeptic, this does prompt me to ask the question, “What am I missing?”  So my question to you, the atheist internet community, is:

What am I missing?  Are there secular arguments against homosexual marriage or homosexuality in general that I have not considered?  I would be surprised if there are not.  My hypothesis is that they would be as equally absurd as the biblical opposition or even secular discrimination.

Please take the Daily Poll on the right.

Thanks for Reading.  I look forward to your comments.

Please note, if you are using explorer, and you type a long comment, you may need to break it into two.  Don’t ask me why, it is beyond my computer expertise.

7 thoughts on ““That’s Gay!”—What am I missing?

  1. The Doubter from Waikanae, Wellington, New Zealand

    I have never heard a valid argument to support being gay as bad for society. Even if science suddenly could prove conclusively that it was fully attributable to genetics, what difference should it make, obviously none!!
    Sometimes the argument that it will change the dynamics of society by accepting gays in all ways, such as gay couples bringing up children, etc…….these are all empty arguments. This idea usually spouted by intolerant religious types that the ‘gay threat’ will undermine society is laughable, and it is a non-argument……statistically gays make up a small portion of the demographic and are just asking for acceptance.
    What’s that saying, something like, ‘ a true measure of society is how it treats the most needy and it's minorities’. Well I am optimistic, in my life time feminism, apartheid, gay rights, etc all have moved positively forward, and as mentioned in S. Pinker’s latest book, The Better Angels of our Nature’…….the ‘civilising process’ is continuing. :)

  2. The Secular Thinker from Boston, MA, United States

    The only real argument that I've seen against homosexuality is the obvious one that says is everybody was gay, our species would cease to continue. However this is quite plainly dumb since it has no practical application, and in fact I would prefer that our species decrease our current reproduction rate as we are quite quickly running out of room and resources on this great planet we live on…

  3. reasonbeing from Rochester, MN, United States Post author

    Great observations guys. Thanks for the comments. So after a day of having this posted, it does not appear as though there are any secular objections to homosexuality that would contribute to the amount of vitriol surrounding this subject. I did have one person contact me elsewhere with a response. This person is gay and grew up in a pretty secular community. His message to me indicated that the secular people that he knew who were "anti-gay" used most of the same arguments that the religious do. The difference is the amount of fervor behind it. While it is embarrassing in today's society that he had to endure something like that in a secular society, it is refreshing to see, in some small sense, that if religion were removed, this subject would not be nearly so polarizing.

  4. Joe from Eugene, OR, United States

    @The Secular Thinker: indeed! Another reason it's a bad argument because it is simply *not true*. LGBT people are actually quite successful in having children and raising them to maturity. This has been documented in other vertebrates with same-sex pair bonding and sexual behavior as well.

  5. Joe from Eugene, OR, United States

    Yup! That was me. And your paraphrase of my comment sounds good :-)

    I'd add, that it might say more about OUR secular society (modern, western) than secular life in general. I do believe non-religious folks through much of the 1900s had significantly more venom in their anti-homosexual behaviors and beliefs.

    An example of this kind of secular venom can still be seen in the treatment of transgender people. Despite a great deal of evidence that respecting transgender people easily fits in with a healthy sustainable society, there is still a remarkable amount of hatred and violence transgender people face. Interestingly, a great deal of that seems to be NOT religiously motivated. From everything ranging from brutal killings of transgender women each year (www.transgenderdor.org) to denying transgender people in public a place to relieve their bladders, when people are asked to defend their mistreatment of transgender people, it is hardly ever on religious grounds.

    Though even there, if there is an actual organized campaign against the legal rights of transgender people — it almost always seems to come from a church. Kinda like i mentioned about gay marriage — i don't see many secular folks actively campaigning against gay marriage, but i definitely met a decent number who at least would vote against it.

    1. reasonbeing from Rochester, MN, United States Post author

      Thanks for your comments Joe. I am glad that I represented your views well, I was nervous about that and almost didn't write it. It would seem to me, that you are saying that in your experience the level of anti-homosexual attitudes are similar between the religious and secular. Even the vitriol can be similar. The main difference would be in the level of organized activity against homosexuals. That is a very interesting thought. One that I hadn't thought about. Thanks for your comments.


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