tyboy wrote:You can't generalize that line of thinking at all though As a result even a relatively open minded person isn't likely to be swayed by it. If a person thinks that homosexuality is harmful to society, then saying that equal protection should cover homosexuality is an absurd argument since we don't apply it to other activities that are harmful to society. Previous posters have given good examples of harmful activities. That sort of assumes that the belief that homosexuality is harmful to society is actually the reason people are opposed to homosexuality as opposed to just a rationalization (my suspicion is that the base reason is mostly ick factor with indoctrination coming in second).
Drinking, smoking, soft drinks are all harmful to society, yet the law applies equally to all who choose to partake in these activities, and medical services are applied equally to all those who have special medical needs of people who choose to partake in these activities. Imagine a law that outlaws drinking for Latino and African Americans, whether or not it is beneficial to society is irrelevant so long as it is discriminatory. Although I am very uncomfortable even arguing against this because it has the presupposed assumption that homosexuality is harmful to society, which I certainly do not think is the case.
tyboy wrote:I'm kind of disappointed Zamfir's original criticism of the equality argument didn't spawn more thoughtful responses. In spite of being completely pro same-sex marriage I can't think of a good response to it. It's difficult to reasonably argue that heterosexual and homosexual marriage are the same thing (it's important that I used 'same' as opposed to 'equal'). There are clearly things that differentiate them, even if I would argue those things are insignificant (again, 'insignificant' as opposed to 'nonexistant'). If the insignificance argument isn't accepted then the whole equality argument falls apart.
Sure heterosexual relationships are different to homosexual relationships, generalized differences will also occur between teen weddings, older couple marriages, inter-racial marriages, inter nationality marriages, inter religious marriages, hetero-religious marriages, atheistic unions, hetero-nationality marriages, marriages where a wide age difference exists, or a large financial difference exists, all of these unions will have generalized differences to each other, and I am sure many more generalized typologies of relationships can be thought of, and at the end of it, so what?
Recognizing that the law should not, and really, must not
differentiate on any of these characteristics, the only reasonable outcome is that all unions should be equally recognized by the state. Limiting the recognition of unions between a man and a woman is plainly arbitrary and discriminatory, upon recognizing this discrimination the only appropriate course of action is to remedy it. And if not, well to be blunt, that state cannot be considered a liberal democracy, because it contains laws, that are discriminatory and thinks its okay.
Any mentions of the importance of equality as a value or guarantee under law miss the point. Nobody has particularly disputed that equal protection is or should be enshrined in law. They tend to necessarily be like that human rights declaration though; Incredibly vague and with the broadest interpretation (dangerous criminals with an equal right to freedom of action) being fairly absurd.
This is the biggest amount of ass I have read in a long time. Firstly, let me link you to the wikipedia articles on Chapter 2 and Chapter 9 of the Constitution of South Africa, which is essentially the incorporation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into law.
South Africa also has the Constitutional Court, whose job it is to interpret cases which impinge on constitutional rights, and which is also the highest court in the land and what you disregard as incredibly vague and with the broadest interpretation, is literally the most important and has the ultimate say in South African law.
And its working.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_Tw ... uth_Africahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_Ni ... uth_Africa
Its no surprise that people who have been discriminated against value these rights incredibly highly, perhaps more so than anything else or that the implementation of such documents, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the South African Constitution are essentially the results of extreme and hateful discrimination.
(dangerous criminals with an equal right to freedom of action)
, is plainly untrue.
Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
I guess the only thing I can think of is to dispute the notion that homosexuality is harmful, but that can be so hard since so many of the alleged harms are so vague.
Whether or not homosexuality is harmful to society or not is actually completely irrelevant and is actually quite insulting to even entertain the idea to be completely honest. The only issue is whether or not homosexuality is impinging on the human rights of others or if there are laws that are impinging on the human rights of homosexuals.
I know I am emphasizing the legality issue and human rights issue and that is because it is so important. The only protection minority groups have in democracies is the law, they can always be outvoted and disliked by much larger groups. It is the tyranny of the majority issue. And we have the International Recognition, finally, that any form of such discrimination is entirely inappropriate and some countries have that in the own laws too.
So, especially in Democratic countries, where human rights are regarded as the ultimate goal in existence, let us then appeal to those rights. Failure to gain legal protections after appealing to human rights raises some very uncomfortable questions about the democracies that still discriminate on arbitrary physical characteristics, or behaviors.
I guess some people think that Human Rights are the most important thing in all legal matters and in the operation of a State, and well, I am appalled that some many people in Democratic nations think these things are negotiable.