Saturday, September 30, 2017

Brisbane Skeptic Society Message on Marriage Equality

First published on Facebook on 1 October, 2017. Republished here with permission:

By October 27th our government is asking you to vote on whether you think the law should be changed to allow same sex couples to marry. The Brisbane Skeptic Society committee fully supports the YES proposition. Brisbane Skeptic Society was founded on the principles of encouraging critical thinking for the betterment of the community. Under these principles there can be no conclusion other than that same sex marriage will be of enormous benefit to large portions of the community and, to the detriment of no one.

There are people who would fervently argue that same sex marriage should not be allowed. Looking critically at these arguments however it become apparent that almost all of these arguments are not about marriage, a non sequitur. Some argue that SSM would harm children. Raising children does not require the institution of marriage, but furthermore, there is no evidence children raised in same sex couples are worse off physically or socially than those raised of opposite sex couples.

Some in the no campaign have argued that legalising SSM would lead to bestiality, incest or people marrying inanimate objects. This is a form of the slippery slope argument. There is no reason logically that SSM marriage will lead to other forms of marriage being legalised. Importantly this argument excluded the central tenet of marriage. That informed consent is given between the two parties involved. Something that cannot happen with many of the above examples.

There are people who would argue that legalising SSM marriage would impede religious freedom. This myth is rather easy to dispel as currently religious institutions have the right to refuse officiate the marriage of heterosexual couples, therefore there is no reason to think they would be forced to marry same sex couples if that fell outside of that specific religions principles. In fact, many religious people believe that marriage equality is supported by their faith and therefore their religious freedom is curtailed under current law.

There are many more arguments that those in the no campaign have expressed that similarly fall into the category of non sequiturs that are not arguments about marriage itself and furthermore are not backed by evidence or logic.

Some may feel that it is not the place of a Skeptic Society to get involved with politics and social issues. That a Skeptic Society should be dispassionate and stick only to evaluating the evidence of specific claims. Brisbane Skeptic Society strongly believes that from an evidence point of view the yes proposition is strongly supported not to mention from a moral and humanist point of view. More importantly than that, what is the point of skepticism if not to improve the world around us? Brisbane Skeptic Society supports a world that is always improving and without injustice through the advancement of science, critical thinking and most importantly compassion. It is for this reason that Brisbane Skeptic Society wholeheartedly supports the legalisation of same sex marriage.

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