10 Really Bad Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage

Debunking the American Family Association's NoGayMarriage.com Platform

The American Family Association published a list of 10 arguments against same-sex marriage in 2008. Ostensibly a summary of James Dobson's Marriage Under Fire, the arguments made a very loose case against same-sex marriage based almost entirely on slippery slopes and out-of-context quotations from the Bible. 

If you've never seen this list before, your first reaction may be anger. But take a deep breath. The AFA actually did the world a favor by putting these frequently whispered but seldom spoken arguments out in plain view so they could be dismantled.

And dismantled they have been. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, making several of these arguments moot even if the sentiments of  remain unchanged in the face of the new law. 

Argument #1: Same-Sex Marriage Will Destroy the Institution of Marriage

Gay Couple Exchanging Rings at Wedding, Toronto, Ontario
Brian Summers Getty Images

The article presumably refers Scandinavian studies that are the work of right-wing author Stanley Kurtz who attempted to prove that same-sex marriage decreased the rate of heterosexual marriage in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This work has since been discredited.  

The often-quoted reference from Romans 1:29-32 omits the following verse, Romans 2:1: "Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same thing."

Argument #2: Polygamy Will Follow If Same-Sex Marriage Is Legalized

Whether or not there's a connection between polygamy and homosexuality, there's been no proof of this since same-sex marriage was legalized in June 2015. Even if the concern had a rational basis and polygamy rates were to suddenly spike, there's a simple solution – propose a constitutional amendment banning polygamy.  

Argument #3: Same-Sex Marriage Makes Heterosexual Divorce Too Easy

The AFA article described this as an "even greater objective of the homosexual movement" than the legalization of same-sex marriage itself. The article makes no real attempt to explain why this could happen, or how it would happen. Presumably, we're expected to accept the statement at face value without giving it any real thought and without research or proof. 

Argument #4: Same-Sex Marriage Requires That Schools Teach Tolerance

People who support same-sex marriage also tend to support tolerance education in public schools, but the former isn't essential to the latter. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 38th governor of California. He vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage and signed a bill enacting a gay-friendly public school tolerance curriculum in the same month.

Argument #5: Same-Sex Married Couples Can Now Adopt

This hasn't come to pass in all 50 states. Although the 2015 Supreme Court decision mandated that all states permit same-sex marriage, many have not relaxed their laws prohibiting same-sex adoption regardless of whether the prospective parents are married. 

Argument #6: Foster Parents Would Be Required to Pass Sensitivity Training

It's unclear what possible relationship fostering might have with same-sex marriage, or at least why such a relationship should be given any more weight than any other. Many states already may require foster training, but the presence of legalized same-sex marriage really has nothing to do with the issue.

Argument #7: Social Security Can't Afford to Pay for Same-Sex Couples

If 4 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian or gay, and if half of lesbians and gay men exercise their right to get married, that's only a 2 percent increase in the national marriage rate. This won't make or break Social Security.

Argument #8: Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Encourages Its Spread

This is the only argument on the AFA list that doesn't strain credulity. It's too soon to say whether legal same-sex marriage in the U.S. has encouraged other nations to also legalize same-sex marriage. As a practical matter, Canada beat the U.S. to the finish line on this issue, legalizing same-sex marriage a full 10 years earlier in 2005. It's doubtful, however, that the Supreme Court was encouraged to rule in favor of same-sex marriage simply because our neighbor to the north had already done so. 

Argument #9: Same-Sex Marriage Makes Evangelism More Difficult

It's remarkable that any contemporary Christian would see a social policy they don't like as an obstacle to evangelism. A little less than two millennia ago, Christians were actually being executed by the Roman Empire and surviving texts don't indicate that they saw this as an impediment to evangelism. Why would a change in marriage law, one that doesn't even directly impact heterosexual couples, somehow destroy evangelism when several generations of Roman emperors could not?

Argument #10: Same-Sex Marriage Will Bring About Divine Retribution

One has to question any theology that portrays God as some sort of violent, capricious bogeyman who must be supplicated by sacrifices and incantations, like the malevolent spirits of animist traditions. The first generation of Christians welcomed the idea of divine intervention with the word "maranatha," which effectively means, "Come, Lord Jesus." There is no trace of that message, so central to the earliest Christian teachings, in this AFA article.

The Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

The Supreme Court's June 26, 2015 same-sex marriage decision came as a result of Obergefell vs. Hodges. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia were the dissenting votes in the 5-4 decision.