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-Same Sex Marriage: A Battle Over Rights or Definitions?

by Dr. D ~ September 1st, 2011

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The same-sex v. traditional marriage debate is heating up all over this country and a majority of the time in the media it is presented and characterized as a matter of civil rights.

Here’s an article by Amy Hall which clarifies the debate as a battle over definitions instead:

“We’re Arguing Definitions, Not Rights”

Here’s her main points:

1. Nearly everyone who thinks the government ought to issue marriage licenses favors defining marriage in some way. That is, they favor excluding some combinations of people (polygamy, incest, etc.), not individuals, from the definition. Even judges. Even you!

2. You can’t consistently argue that by excluding certain combinations of people, traditional marriage violates equal rights—unless you also argue to remove every single boundary from the definition of marriage and say anyone can marry anyone, in whatever combination of numbers they like.

3. If you’re not willing to argue this, then you’re for having a definition with boundaries, which puts you on equal footing with the traditional marriage supporters.

4. So the question is, which definition should we use? It’s fine for you to argue that your definition of “two people who love each other” is better than my definition of “one man, one woman,” or someone else’s definition of “one man, multiple women,” but we need to start off by understanding that we’re arguing definitions, not rights.

Read the whole article and don’t miss the discussion which follows in the comments.            *Top

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