Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Response To A Student Who Writes That Gay Marriage Will Hurt The Economy

I take your argument very seriously; it’s very ambitious, but it needs to be supported and argued better. Are you saying that gay marriages should be illegal because they will hurt the economy? That seems to be your conclusion, but you never say it. I respect your opinion, but it needs to be backed up with fact.

Your paper is primarily an argument against a point made by Maxwell Strachan that “gay marriages will benefit the economy.” You disagree with his point, and think they will hurt the economy. I haven’t read Strachan’s article, and do not know whether he uses evidence or statistics to support his claims, but since you begin by arguing with Strachan, you should probably look more closely at the logic he uses. This will help make your argument more effective.  If it could be proven that it wouldn’t hurt the economy, would you be in favor of gay marriage? It doesn’t have to help the economy in order not to hurt it.

When you write “homosexual couples tend to be lower income which leads to lower tax revenue and higher welfare costs,” you need to prove your points. Otherwise, it is just an assumption. I know quite a few rich and well-to-do gay people. Where do you get this assumption? Furthermore, even if you could prove that they are poorer, it doesn’t logically follow that this would lead to “higher welfare costs” for the government.

You make an assumption that homosexual couples wish to marry so they can have children. This is a separate, albeit related, issue. There are many homosexual couples who have no interest in having children, and there were homosexual couples who had children even before marriage was legalized, so the point about children doesn’t really support your main argument that gay marriages will hurt the economy.  They are separate issues.

Just because the Family Research Council says that children who have not been raised in normal families are more likely to participate in anti-social behavior doesn’t mean it is true. The vast majority of anti-social behaviors today are from children from heterosexual couples. The bigger point: even if it were true, this doesn’t prove that providing medical treatment for these children “will take a huge portion from the budget.” Even when homosexual marriage is illegal, gays are still eligible for welfare.  You make it sound like gay people should not be eligible for welfare; that gay people should be illegal. Surely, you don’t mean that.

One last question: even if it did cost the government more (which I don’t believe it would), does that mean it should be illegal? There are many people in this country (straight people as well as gay) who don’t have adequate healthcare right now—because the government won’t tax the corporations their fair share and because it spends too much on the war (for instance). Shouldn’t the government put people (straight and gay?) before corporations and war? 

In her next revision, she changes tactics. She writes that “same-sex marriages can have an adverse effect on the birth rate; thereby it can hinder the development of society and the economy.” She claims that “there is an obvious relationship between the legalization of same-sex marriages and the birth rate. For example, Vermont, the first state that legalized same-sex marriages, ranked last in birth rate in 2000. With the low birth rate and the aging population, the economy of America is going to encounter the problem of worker shortages. Without enough labor force, the companies are more likely to move to other countries and the development of America’s economy will be negatively effected.”

This “obvious” connection is not clear. First, she does not establish that Vermont’s low birth rate is caused by gay marriage. She makes it sound like gay marriage will make gay people have less children than they did when gay marriage was illegal.
Furthermore, even if it could be proven that gay marriage somehow lowers the birth rate, she does not effectively argue that it would hurt the economy by causing worker shortages. Today, America has a very high unemployment and underemployment rate because many companies have already moved to other countries to get cheaper labor. If indeed gay marriage would lower the birth rate (which is unlikely), this could actually benefit the economy since there is no danger of “worker shortages” in the USA.

Though her rhetoric has the potential to seduce, her argument still reveals a lack of familiarity with the issue. She goes on to argue that legalizing gay marriage could infringe upon religious freedom. She quotes an article by Peter Sprigg, from 2011, that mentions how the government prevented a Catholic Organization from placing children for adoption after they refused to place them with same-sex couples. She argues that this can affect religious liberty. This argument is worth looking into, yet it also raises a question: in a society that values separation of church and state, should a religious organization be able to determine public policy and engage in discriminatory adoption programs, or should America become a theocracy?

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