Sunday, 18 April 2010

Right Wing Rejection of Same Sex Marriage Full of Fallacies.

Right wing psychologist Trayce Hansen is among those who oppose equal marriage rights for homosexual couples and heterosexual couples. She lends her credentials as a psychologist to give the veneer of professionalism this opinion, but then uses non-psychological arguments to support her claims.

For example, one of the rationales Hansen gives for rejecting equal marriage rights for all American couples is that allowing same-sex marriage would force the government to give recognition to other forms of marriage as well. She writes,

If society permits same-sex marriage, it also will have to allow other types of marriage. The legal logic is simple: If prohibiting same-sex marriage is discriminatory, then disallowing polygamous marriage, polyamorous marriage, or any other marital grouping will also be deemed discriminatory. The emotional and psychological ramifications of these assorted arrangements on the developing psyches and sexuality of children would be disastrous. And what happens to the children of these alternative marriages if the union dissolves and each parent then “remarries”? Those children could end up with four fathers, or two fathers and four mothers, or, you fill in the blank.

There are three parts to Trayce Hansen’s argument:

1. “If society allows same-sex marriage, it also will have to allow other types of marriage.”
2. Other types of marriage than monogamous are harmful to children.
3. Non-monogamous types of marriage can result in children having more than one father or mother.

Hansen’s first point is easy to refute. One need only remember that the same justification was made against allowing couples of different ethnicities to marry in the United States. Laws against miscegenation were dismantled over a generation ago, and yet, same-sex marriage has remained illegal. History proves that dismantling one form of discrimination does not, unfortunately, lead to the dismantling of other forms of discrimination.

Some of the sorts of marriage that Trayce Hansen worries could be made legal are already, in fact, legal. Polyamory is not against federal law, although there are some archaic, unenforced laws on the books in a few backwaters against sexual affairs outside of marriage.

Besides that, Trayce Hansen’s second point is unsupported by the facts. Are children psychologically harmed by polygamous marriages? They can be, but then again, children can also be psychologically harmed by monogamous heterosexual marriages. There is no scientific study that indicates that polygamy is inherently psychologically damaging to children. What damages children psychologically is abuse and neglect, not abstract models of family organization. That’s why it’s important to outlaw abuse and neglect, not structures of family organization that some religious or political groups claim to be unhealthy.

Finally, Trayce Hansen worries that polyamorous or polygamous marriages, when there is divorce and remarriage, could lead to children having multiple fathers or multiple mothers. That might be an argument against polyamorous or polygamous marriages, if the same thing was not true of heterosexual, monogamous marriages. Take a look at Rudolph Giuliani and the confusion his children have had to experience because of their father’s multiple marriages. He’s not a polygamist. His marriages have all been the right wing ideal – between one man and one woman.

So, the objections of right wing ideologues like Trayce Hansen don’t hold up to even simple inquiry. Their agenda is not truly in favor of the interests of family values. Instead, their agenda is against the liberty for Americans to form families that fit their values. We need to have a President of the United States who will oppose the sort of sloppy thinking that she and her colleagues promote, and support marriage equality for all, without equivocation.


This is what we human should give a thought before committing, indulging or agreeing in that kind of relationships.

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