Gay marriage debate: Michael Brown debates Eric Smaw on same-sex marriage

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.

5 thoughts on “Gay marriage debate: Michael Brown debates Eric Smaw on same-sex marriage”

  1. No offense to Smaw, but his was the worst debate performance that I’ve ever had to endure. He was very under-prepared and didn’t seem to take the debate seriously at all. I found it hard to believe that he had the education and position that he is reported to have.

    Dr. Michael Brown is a jewel in the crown our Christian brothers and sisters. He’s always compelling and always well-informed. A dear brother whose heart and mind are in the right place. Great work!



    1. But the students loved Dr. Smaw, did you notice that? They all thought he was the bee’s knees. I wonder if they think the same after the debate.

      I’m glad that Dr. Brown is so prepared for these debates. He does a good job, and his caring attitude comes through.


      1. I think he would be the bees knees because he was arguing for the popular, more generally accepted idea of “freedom”.

        They like that – not because it is well argued or right, but because it fits with their desire to fit in, which among the youth is a big driving force. Peer pressure doesn’t stop affecting you until you have more at stake than being ostracized.


      2. They did. I guess it’s to be expected since it was his home turf. Hopefully after the debate they may have wondered why he was in a teaching position.

        Speaking of Dr. Brown’s level of preparation — I think that’s exactly what Dr. Smaw wasn’t expecting. Most media outlets only show belligerent people at various levels of intoxication from the pro-traditional marriage side. Dr. Smaw was probably expecting Dr. Brown to just open up the Bible, scream “The Bible sayzuh…” and that’s it. Dr. Brown did a wonderful job.


        1. That’s exactly right. Whenever the mainstream media goes looking for an opinion on social issues, they have typically gone after Al Mohler types. That’s why it’s nice to see people Dr. Ryan Anderson, Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse out there being interviewed.


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