Same sex marriage debates

Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss Pixabay

Marriage, civil unions and controversy

The major controversy appears to be about society granting a civil union equal status with a marriage.

In civilised societies, marriages are no longer viewed as void if the heterosexual couple is not sexually active, nor if the couple do not have children.

If one eliminates the arguments that relate to issues of equality of the sexes, as have been outlined in the TCN articles

then the answer appears to be primarily ones related to 

  • the raising of children by people of the same sex and
  • the sexual behaviour between people of the same sex.


Raising children is a demanding and complex task, which is best achieved by having more than one person providing the parenting. This has been traditionally considered to be the role of a heterosexual couple and their extended family.

Death or disability or default by the biological parents has meant there are many examples where children have been raised by single parents, and/ or by siblings or other extended family members or even by strangers, without major harm. 

For example: In many post War situations, these were households with those providing parenting being of the same sex. eg a mother, aunt and grandmother; or father and two brothers. 

There are also many examples of children being raised in abusive environments with their biological or other heterosexual couples providing the parenting.

Therefore the quality of parenting is not related to the sexual orientation of the people providing the parenting, rather to the quality of care provided.

Concern about homosexual couples having the same rights as heterosexual couples to raise children is often based on false premises, such as:

  • confusing homosexuality with pedophilia, which it is not.
  • beliefs that the child's developing sexual orientation will be influenced by being raised by same sex couples. Also an erroneous belief.

Children require roles models of both male and female behaviours for healthy psychological development. 

In the world village in this day and age, it is extremely likely that every child will be exposed to a huge range of role models.

Therefore parenting can meet all the same criteria applied to heterosexual couples. 

Thus same sex adult couples are entitled to the same protection under law as heterosexual people.

Sexual behaviour

Family relationships, friendships, relationships related to work, recreation, community service, interests etc. are all necessary for the healthy functioning of a society. 

Relationships between people of the same sex, that do not involve sexual behaviour, are obviously not an issue.

Same sexual practices may have been deemed as immoral or inappropriate based upon:

Minority behaviour being defined by societies as abnormal and thus intrinsically bad.

This has been challenged by

  • understanding that the range of sexual behaviours practised by same sex couples is also practised by heterosexual couples.
  • understanding that naturally occurring minority behaviours do not need to be defined as "bad" rather simply as "different", unless there are harmful consequences.

Note: Good and bad are moral terms that can best judged by the effect of those behaviours on the person exhibiting those and those who are affected by the behaviour.

eg left handedness was seen as "evil" because the "right' was symbolically associated with God, goodness, doing the right thing etc.

That individual difference did no harm other than the trauma caused by those who decided it was not acceptable, and used that to dominate and abuse left-handed people because of it.

Many people now understand that homosexual people have suffered the same type of discrimination that left-handed people experienced (and still do in some places)

Religious beliefs ie God has defined some sexual behaviours as moral and thus acceptable and others as immoral.

This has been challenged by

  • scientific and other discoveries that require re-valuation of concepts of God and religious beliefs to eliminate bias based on ignorance and/or historical, cultural, and man-serving rather than humane or God-serving or Life-serving principles.

  • the understanding that sexual attraction to members of the same sex is not a simple choice determined by free-will anymore than heterosexual attraction, but determined by complex biological, psychological and social factors.

  • most religious belief systems include the 'god as creator' concept. As life includes a diverse range of a-sexual and sexual behaviour, such a creator would be assumed to have a broad acceptance of such a range of behaviour

Social structures supporting sexual behaviours that will ensure the healthy survival of the species ie heterosexuality is acceptable, homosexuality not.

This has been challenged by

  • there are heterosexual couples who have to use IVF and other strategies to be able to be parents.
  • good parenting is required of both sexes in a heterosexual marriage so both genders are equally capable of performing those roles
  • there are many people who have been raised in single sex homes, especially after wars, where the children have been parented without public uproar.
  • there are many children who have been abused by heterosexual couples so 'straight' marriage is no guarantee of good parenting. A loving home provided by balanced and loving people is the decider.
  • from an evoluntary perspective, over-population threatens the sustainability of life as we know it on the planet which is a closed system.Thus sexual practices where children are not created, may be benefical by increasing the survival chances for human species overall.
Defining primary bodily functions as evolved as the "natural" and thus only appropriate use of those organs associated with that function (eg anal function is to regulate the release of faeces)

This has been challenged by

  • many minority factors determine the survival of the species, so one can not predict what organs and behaviours will have the most survival benefits in the future
Adverse health consequences of particular behaviours, especially in areas with poor sanitation and/or hygiene practices.

This has been challenged by

  • increased hygienic, sanitation and health knowledge and practices have decreased the risk of illnesses in some of "same sex" sexual behaviours, nor are they necessarily needed for sexual stimulation and satisfaction

  • again these behaviours risk heterosexual people as well, as they are also practised by some heterosexual people.

So what are principles to guide sexual behaviour in the 3rd Millennium?

There appear to be four inter-related factors by which modern civilised societies judge sexual behaviour.

To be considered appropriate, the sexual behaviour needs to be:

  • Mature ie behaviour between adults

    Thus any form of sexual behaviour involving children and those defined by law as not capable of adult decision making is unacceptable.

  • Consenting by being based on free will between people of basically equal power. ie behaviour unhindered by ignorance, and/or either direct or indirect coercion.

    Thus sexual behaviour is not acceptable where one of the parties are unable to exercise free choice because the person is drunk or drugged, not capable of making an adult decision, threatened with violence either directly or indirectly, or being wrongly informed that a behaviour would not be painful or harmful.

    This principle excludes sex with children, adults with a certain level of mental incapacity, animals  etc. as consent is absent when the person or animal does not have sufficent ability or power to refuse.

  • Healthy ie free of harmful consequences to the person and others

    Thus sexual behaviours that carry a high risk to the healthy function of a person, both physically and emotionally, or that cause physical or emotional pain are not considered appropriate. eg a person with a sexually transmitted disease having sex with another person unaware of their health status would be considered harmful.

  • Longterm and Exclusive

    The most controversial of these four factors. However, many people also argue that the most healthy form of sexual behaviour, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually is between two people in a long term committed relationship.

    "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State".

    Certainly the more childrean and adults living in stable, caring and loving households the better their health and well-being, and as a consequence the health and well-being of our communities. This, in turn, is of huge importance to our society as a whole.

    Thus we need to re-examine of the concept and definition of "family" in our modern societies. Read more.
Therefore sexual behaviour between consenting adult homosexual people can meet all the same criteria applied to sexual behaviour between consenting adult heterosexual people.

Thus same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights and protection under law as heterosexual couples.


1. Item 16 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights 1948.


Last modified on Friday, 22 September 2017 06:08