The ‘Slippery Slope’ of Gay Marriage Legislation

The recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in the U.S. has opened up a massive can of worms, with many people proclaiming the dangers of a ‘slippery slope’…that is that once one particular idea becomes accepted, it becomes easier to impose other, more dangerous ideas on top of that.

And I agree.  There’s a very dangerous slippery slope at play here.  Just consider — if Christians were successful in making gay marriage illegal, why would they stop there?  The Bible very clearly teaches that homosexuals should be put to death.  There are already Christian groups like the Westboro Baptist Church who are publicly proclaiming that homosexuals should be imprisoned or executed.  Nor are they alone.  Baptist pastor Steven Anderson has likewise publicly proclaimed that gays should be executed, based on the commandments in the Bible.  Once we give Christians the right to legislate their religious beliefs, it’s only a matter of time until they take it another step, and then another step, etc.  Force gays into asylums.  Then imprison them.  Then torture them.  Then, finally execute them.

It’s a dangerous, virtually inevitable slippery slope.

Except that it’s not.  The above is pure sensationalism, blatant exaggeration and misrepresentation of Christian claims and beliefs, made with the deliberate intention of demonizing those that I disagree with, and of appealing to emotional reactions, rather than rational ones.  It is fundamentally dishonest.  Yes, the people that I referred to above really do exist, and really do believe those things…but they are a tiny, tiny minority, and the vast majority of Christians would (and do) condemn them.

So what do we say then about those Christians who are proclaiming that the legalization of gay marriage is just the start down a ‘slippery slope’ towards the legalization of pedophilia, bestiality, etc.?  For example, this article is making the rounds of Facebook among Christian groups, declaring that pedophile groups are using the “same arguments” to justify pedophilia that gay rights groups used to justify gay marriage — and that therefore, we are obviously going down a dangerous road where those evil atheists are trying to legalize pedophilia.

It is true that there are groups like NAMBLA who have been pushing for decades to legalize sex with minors.  But it should be noted that the vast majority of those who support gay marriage are just as disgusted and opposed to them as any Christian group.  This is by no means representative of what we want.

But more importantly, the argument they are using is not the same argument that was used to justify gay marriage.  The argument they are using is that “just as there are people who are naturally gay, so homosexuality should be legal; so there are people who are naturally attracted to children, so it should also be legal.”  Except that’s not the reason that gay marriage was legalized!  It is, in fact, a rather ludicrous argument, and one that wouldn’t stand up in court, because there are numerous human behaviors that are arguably biological and unavoidable, yet we would never consider legalizing such behaviors as a result.  Consider people born with brain damage which makes them psychopaths.  Their condition is entirely ‘natural’, and they cannot help it, they cannot control it.  But that doesn’t mean that anyone would argue that they should therefore be able to engage in whatever behaviors they want, because “they can’t help it”.

The argument for gay marriage is quite different.  It consists of three main components.  First, that it does not harm either of the participants, or anyone else.  Second, that it is consensual.  And third, that it is between adults.  Gay marriage may offend you, you may even consider it spiritually harmful…but we don’t make laws based on perceptions of spiritual harm, not least because even Christians can’t agree on what is ‘spiritually harmful’, and what is not.  Some say drinking alcohol is spiritually damaging; others say it is fine, and even make consumption of wine a part of their religious services.  Some say that dancing is spiritually damaging (leading to lust and sin); other say that it is not only acceptable, but an integral part of their worship of god.

So consider those three components.  It does not harm any of the participants.  It is consensual.  And it is between adults.  Does pedophilia fit within the scope of that?  Not even close.  It is harmful, it is not consensual (in that a child is too young to knowledgeably consent), and it most obviously is not between adults.  Similarly, bestiality cannot possibly be consensual,  nor is there any reasonable argument that it’s between adults.

Some of you reading this will, without a doubt, believe that homosexuality is wrong, and that legalization of gay marriage is a legal and moral travesty.  I’m not here to argue with you about that, not right now.

What I’m here to do is to demonstrate that if you are using arguments like this one, then you are resorting to dishonest, deceptive, deliberately inflammatory lies in order to try to scare people into believing you.  And seriously — if the best argument you have is a blatant lie or deliberately intolerant exaggeration, then you really don’t have much of an argument at all.  Whereas if you do have better arguments…then why are you using this one?

John Lombard
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John Lombard

I am Canadian, but have been living and working in China since 1993. I am experienced in business (started two successful companies), in education (have taught in some of China’s top universities), and in philanthropy (co-founded a non-profit organization to help one of China’s indigenous minority groups).

I am the founder of Wrest In Peace, arising from my passion to create a greater opportunity for people of different beliefs and backgrounds to better understand and communicate with each other.
John Lombard
Follow Me

About John Lombard

I am Canadian, but have been living and working in China since 1993. I am experienced in business (started two successful companies), in education (have taught in some of China’s top universities), and in philanthropy (co-founded a non-profit organization to help one of China’s indigenous minority groups).

I am the founder of Wrest In Peace, arising from my passion to create a greater opportunity for people of different beliefs and backgrounds to better understand and communicate with each other.

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3 Responses to The ‘Slippery Slope’ of Gay Marriage Legislation

  1. Chaos says:

    Whether or not something is harmful is, by itself, not a strong argument for legalizing or prohibiting it.

    Consider this: Boxing is harmful and dangerous to both participants – yet because it consensual and happens between adults, it is legalizing pretty much everywhere, and rightly so. Similarly, smoking is harmful, yet legal when done by someone old enough to make the informed decision to smoke anyway; it is the same with drinking alcohol, and it *should be* the same with recreational use of other drugs.

    • John Lombard says:

      Chaos — Yet there ARE behaviors that we consider potentially harmful that we make laws about. For example, laws that force people to wear seat belts, or to obey speed limits. Laws that prohibit minors from consuming alcohol, or driving.

      And pretty darn high on that list would be laws that prevent harm to children — physical harm, emotional harm, psychological harm, etc. I agree that, by itself, the argument about laws to prevent harm to others may not be the strongest; but used in conjunction with the other factors I listed above, I’d argue it can certainly have valid applications.

      And I’d also agree with you in regards to legalization of drugs…but that’s a topic for another day 😉

  2. Chaos says:

    Incidentally, is there a name for the opposite of the slippery slope fallacy – i.e. “Case A is similar enough to Case B that all the arguments used in Case A also apply to Case B, yet Case B is decided very differently from Case A” as opposed to “Case A is superficially similar to Case B, so if we decide one way in Case A, what´s to stop anyone from having to decide the same way in Case B?”? The way recreational drug use is treated very differently where alcohol and tobacco are concerned versus where other drugs are concerned would be an example of that fallacy.

    If there isn´t a name, may I have the honor of coining the phrase “the sticky slope fallacy”?

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