Should gay marriage be legal? Michael Brown vs Eric Smaw

This is a must-see debate! (And you can buy Michael Brown’s new book here if you like it – I bought two copies)

About the debate:

On April 21, 2011 at 7:30pm at UCF’s Health and Public Affairs Building (Room 119), Rollins College professor, Dr. Eric Smaw and author and seminary professor Dr. Michael L. Brown will debate the question “Should same sex marriage be legalized in America?” The event will be held at 4000 Central Florida Blvd and is open to the public. After the formal portion of the debate, Brown and Smaw will field questions from the audience.

About the speakers:

Dr. Smaw will be responding in the affirmative. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law from the University of Kentucky in 2005. His areas of expertise are philosophy of law, international law, human rights, ethics, and modern philosophy. He has published articles on human rights, terrorism, and cosmopolitanism. His most recent publication is “Swaying in the Balance: Civil Liberties, National Security, and Justice in Times of Emergency”.

Dr. Brown will be responding in the negative. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and is a nationally known evangelical lecturer and radio host. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and twenty books, including the recently published study “A Queer Thing Happened to America”, which is quickly being recognized as the definitive work on the history and effects of gay activism on American culture.

Here are the first two parts:

Part 1 of 10:

Part 2 of 10:

The rest of the segments are here.

Summaries of the opening speeches

Summary of Dr. Brown’s opening speech:

There is no compelling reasons by the state should change the definition of marriage

The reason the state conveys benefits for marriage is because marriage is beneficial for the state

Traditional marriage is recognized by the state for several reasons:
– it domesticates men
– it protects women
– it provides a stable, nurturing environment for children

Marriage has three public purposes:
– to bind men and women together for RESPONSIBLE procreation
– to get the benefit
– to provide children with two parents who are bonded to them biologically
– to create the next generation of people to keep the society going

Normally, opposite sex couples create children

Homosexual couples can NEVER create children together

Men and women are differences that are complementary

Monogamy is the norm for opposite sex couples.

For gay men, open relationships / cheating is the norm.
This is because women have a tempering effect on sexuality.

There is no evidence that recognizing same-sex civil unions and marriages have changed this trend.

Same-sex marriage guarantees that children will either not have a father or a mother
So which of the sexes is dispensable when raising children?

For example, consider Dawn Stefanowicz, who grew up with a gay father and no mother
She never got a chance to see a man model love and protect a women within a marriage
That makes an enormous difference in a woman’s life – in the way she relates to men

Even with scientific advancements, every baby has a mother and a father

If we change the definition of marriage so that it is based on consent, then why limit it to just two people
If marriage is not the union of male and female, then why have only TWO people
In Canada, you have civil liberties lawyers arguing for for polygamy
In the United States, Professor David Epstein was in a consensual relationship with his daughter
Should incestuous relationships also be celebrated as marriage? Why not?
Should polyamorous relationships also be celebrated as marriage? Why not?

Sexual orientation is not the same as race
Men are women are different in significant ways, but different races are not
You need separate bathrooms for men and women, but not for people of different races

Summary of Dr. Smaw’s opening speech: (He ended his speech after only 10 minutes)

You can redefine marriage so that it no longer based on the public purposes he mentioned (controlling procreation, fusing complementary male and female natures, providing children with mothers and fathers who are biologically linked to them, providing children with a comparatively stable development environment that offers comparatively less instability, promiscuity and domestic violence rates compared to cohabitation, etc.), but is instead based on consent and feelings, and that redefinition of marriage won’t open marriage up to polygamy, polyamory, etc.

If you like feminism, then you should allow same-sex marriage

If you like abortion rights, then you should allow same-sex marriage

Homosexuals participate in society by working at various jobs, so they are participating in society

Homosexuals should be given the same tax breaks as married people because they work at various jobs for money

Working at a job for money achieves the same public purpose as procreating and staying together to raise children in a stable environment

You can listen to the rest for the rebuttals, and cross-examination. Oh yes – there was cross-examination! It starts two thirds of the way through Part 5, if you want to jump to it. And sparks were flying! There is also Q&A from the audience of students.

This is such a great debate – I love to hear two passionate guys disagreeing about something. I love to hear both sides of the issues. There is always something to learn by listening to the other side. It makes me more effective and more tolerant when I stand up to defend my side of the argument.

By the way, my own secular case against same-sex marriage is right here, if you want to see how I would debate this issue. Also check out the recent studies on the effects of gay parenting on children.

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3 thoughts on “Should gay marriage be legal? Michael Brown vs Eric Smaw”

  1. I spotted something in your summary of Brown’s speech.
    “There is no evidence that recognizing same-sex civil unions and marriages have not changed this trend.”

    Shouldn’t the ‘not’ be absent?


  2. I usually just ask a gay-marriage advocate to define marriage broad enough to be “tolerant” to all views while still narrow enough to actually be a distinct relationship. I haven’t had a single substantive response. Most just respond that marriage is when two (or more) people get “married”; not sure that defining a word with its verb is a good idea.


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