Thought experiment: Am I being discriminated against?

Same-sex marriage advocates routinely frame the debate in terms of rights deprivation.  It is argued that by disallowing same-sex marriage that you are somehow discriminating against homosexuals.  I reject this notion because it misunderstands what equal treatment actually means.  So let me present this thought experiment to those supporters:

Let’s say I live in a state in which same-sex marriage is not legal.  Let’s also say a buddy of mine, also a heterosexual, and I wished to get married for the benefits: tax incentives, property rights, insurance discounts, pension benefits, etc.  Of course we will not be allowed to marry one another.

Since same-sex marriage advocates argue that it is homosexuals who are discriminated against if same-sex couples are not permitted to wed, are my friend and I being discriminated against because we are heterosexual?  What role does our sexual orientation play in the denial of our state recognized marriage?

This isn’t a nonsensical scenario.  It serves to prove that a state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the participants.


  1. I never have understood the “discrimination” argument. Hetero males as well as homosexual males are only permitted to marry unrelated women. Where’s the discrimination? They are both being treated equally under the law. And don’t throw the “love” argument in there, many people marry for reasons other than “love” and the state should have no interest in how you feel about another person.

    • Angie

      That’s been my entire argument from the beginning! You just said in one brief paragraph what I have taken many posts to say. What a shame critical thinking has taken a back seat to emotionalism.

  2. You’re right. It further proves the point to imagine two heterosexual men being allowed to marry in Massachusetts, for example. They fit the definition “any two people”. I suppose gay marriage advocates would be fine with that scenario, since there is the rare occasion in which a man and woman marry for reasons other than love. And it’s perfectly legal for a gay man to marry a lesbian in any state. They fit the criterion “one man and one woman”. But, doesn’t that show that a person’s actual sexual preference doesn’t concern the law?

    In fact, doesn’t the lack of a requirement to prove that a man and woman who seek a marriage license actually love each other show that to “legitimize” a person’s sexual preference is not the purpose of legal marriage at all?

  3. Or would I and my bachelor roomie even be allowed to marry in Massachusetts, if they knew we weren’t sexually attracted to each other? We’re just a couple of guys who don’t want to be married to women. But we have committed to live together forever. Would the “any two people” definition cover us, or would “marriage” effectively delegitimize our relationship by denying us the benefits offered to those whose relationships are “exactly the same” as ours?

    “Exactly the same?”, you may ask. Yes. Exactly the same. If homosexual relationships are exactly the same as heterosexual relationships, then I’m calling my asexual relationship with my roomie exactly the same as either of those. After all, how much of anyone’s life is taken up by sex? As little as it is, certainly no sex at all can’t be far from the percentage of time that married couples spend having sex, right?

  4. I agree. I thought one “wait a minute, a gay man can marry.” Of course, he would have to marry a woman, but that’s what marriage is. Why does he get to change what marriage is just because he doesn’t want to marry a woman? If he doesn’t want to marry a woman, then don’t get married, it’s as simple as that.

    As you said, orientation doesn’t affect your eligibility to get married. A gay man is just as much entitled to marry a woman as a straight man is (where of course the woman is unrelated and unmarried.) That is equal. That isn’t discriminatory. It may not be what the gay man wants, but what someone wants has nothing to do with discrimination.

    The main intended purpose of marriage is procreation. Of course, not every heterosexual couple who get married have children, but in general capable of having children by virtue of their nature (there are exceptions obviously, but I’m talking in general.) In homosexual “marriages,” they are not capable of having children by virtue of their nature. A gay man and a lesbian woman could get married if they want to, because in general and by virtue of their nature, they are capable of having children.

    I also agree completely that the state doesn’t care about “love.” Obviously it’s definitely helpful and advantageous if a couple getting married love each other, but they aren’t entitled to get married as a result of love (e.g. what if close relatives love each other? Or people who are already married to different spouses?)

  5. Jeffrey Kraus says:

    I would support marriage of any two unrelated people regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Same sex couples can give birth to children the same as opposite sex couples. A lesbian couple I read about, one partner had a child with the brother of the other partner.

    If marriage was intended for procreation there would be fertility tests and the elderly would not be allowed to mary.

    There is more to sex than just female and male. About 1% of the population does not have a determined sex and are classed as intersex.

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