Two editorials were posted in the “New York Daily News” and “Times of Trenton” pertaining to the subject of legalizing gay marriage. Both articles argue the position against gay marriage and use the same focal point in their articles: the negative effects that legalizing gay marriages will have on children being raised by same sex parents. Also, both articles contain logical fallicies in their argument and use many of the same tactics to argue their point such as scare tactics, statistics, and quotes from people on the other side of the argument.
However, the “Times of Trenton” editorial is able to cover up these fallicies and present their side in a cleaner and more efficient way than the “New York Daily News” by making the statistics seem more credible, the quotes from the other side of the argument more persuasive, and the overall organization of their logic more rational. Unfortunately, the legalization of same sex marriage is a highly divided and controversial topic that our nation has been debating over since the day American was founded as a country.
While the movement persisted throughout the centuries, it was not until the turn of the millennium in the year 2000 that Vermont became the first state to allow civil unions for same sex couples. Since then, milestones have been made in the LGBT community as thirteen states have legalized same sex marriage and eight states recognizing same sex civil unions as of 2013. However, America is taking the matter at a slow pace compared to the thirteen countries that have already completely recognized same sex marriage—Denmark legalizing the practice since the late 1980s.
In fact, many states have taken a few steps backwards, such as California passing an amendment to overturn its previous decision to legalize same sex marriage along with 32 states adding amendments to ban same sex unions to their constitutions. However, the most recent polls show majority support for the legal recognition of same sex marriage, with supporters first achieving the majority in 2010. There is a general trend between supporters for same sex marriage with lack of religious fundamentalism, young age, higher education, and residence in the Northeast and West Coast.
Also, supporters come from mostly liberal and moderate political ideologies and the female gender. In opposition are mostly the South and Midwest regions, men, and conservative political ideologies. The defenders of opposite sex marriages generally argue against same sex couples raising children as well, generally basing their stance on outdated studies—many of which have been revoked by their own researchers. Both articles used research statistics to support their claim. The “NY Daily News” quoted a statement from Obama stating that children who grow up without a father are more likely to become destructive citizens of our society.
The article poorly executes the utilization of research in two ways: first they use Obama as a figure of false authority and fail to cite the origin of the research, loosening its credibility. Secondly, even if it is credible, the research overall is misinterpreted and a red herring to the argument. The research is only relevant to children who grow up without a father not directly to same gender parents—it could easily be possible that the research pertains to single parent households.
The author also sets up a straw man against Obama by stating “Obama is right. Children are better off with both a mother and a father. ” Firstly, it does not state anywhere in the quote given that Obama said children need strictly a mother and father, only that children without both parents present are more likely to end up in a poor situation. Secondly, even if the research was relevant with same gender families, it would only present a stance against children raised by two mothers instead of two fathers.
Not only is it a hasty generalization for the author to assume that this single study proves that marriage needs to involve a man and a woman, it is non-sequitur to believe that because children without fathers do not grow up well, that same gender situations where both parents are present will yield the same results. In the other article, the author uses research to support his claim slightly more efficiently—the first research study the author uses is cited and actually is directly relevant to same gender family studies.
The study showed that children raised by same sex parents are more likely to be homosexual, abuse drugs, be molested by their parents/adult figure, and participate in risky behavior. The average reader scanning over the article quickly would see the author stated where the research came from and automatically assume that it is credible. However, when the research was further investigated, it was found that not only was the study widely considered by scientists to be inconclusive. Even the author, Mark Regernus, stated in an interview that the study lacked enough foundation to make such a claim.
The article then declares there is an increase in people identifying as homosexual since 1994. The author then claims this increase falsifies the theory that people are born homosexual but instead is due to cultural factors encouraging same-sex behavior. The first mistake with this claim is that the author does not provide where this information originates. It is non sequitur to believe that because the culture is becoming more accepting of homosexuality, it increases homosexuality and debunks the theory that people are born homosexual.
More or less, this claim is a hasty generalization because the author does not consider possibilities such as culture changing to accept homosexual individuals giving people comfort and security to openly identify as homosexual. Both authors clearly stack bias evidence against homosexual behavior instead of providing or arguing against any of the available evidence that suggests being homosexual has genetic components or children from same sex families do as well as heterosexual parented families.
While the lack of arguing against evidence refuting their claims may seemingly strengthen their opinion, the blatant bias makes their argument less convincible to readers because it comes off as close-minded and opinionated rather than open and persuasive, especially to readers that support gay marriage. To strengthen their argument, both articles used quotes from the opposing side to argue their claim. Again, the “Times of Trenton” article uses this method more strongly than “New York Daily News”. The “New York Daily News” claims that the LGBT community supports the author’s thesis that gay marriage is based on a lie.
They first quote an author named Masha Gessen, a supporter of gay marriage: “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change. ” The author set up a straw man manipulating these words to make it appear that the LGBT community agrees with their thesis. Gessen, however, is not directly stating that gay marriage is based off a lie, but that it is a lie to say that the institution of marriage is not going to change as a result of legalizing gay marriage.
Then, the author quotes another gay marriage advocate named Judith Stacey repeatedly throughout the article essentially making evident her support for polygamy and that redefining marriage will hopefully give way to accepting polygamy. It is non sequitur and a hasty generalization to claim that if same sex marriage is legalized, it will instigate the acceptance and legalization of polygamy as well. It is also a red herring fallacy to distract the readers with irrelevant information on polygamy and somehow correlate it with the legalization of same sex marriage.
This pulls away the reader from the main issue of gay marriage and the main point the author is trying to make becomes vague to the reader. Furthermore, the credibility of using these people to represent the LGBT community is put into question. The author even states that these people are radical advocates, but the author gives the illusion that since these people support same sex marriage, the LGBT community is guilty by association and therefore shares the same opinions. The author also gives these radical advocates false authority, granting them authorization to speak for the LGBT community as a whole.
The “Times of Trenton” article uses a better source to support their argument: providing an article written by a gay man raising children. He says that Mainwaring can see why people oppose same sex marriage because “Moms and dads interact differently with their children. To give kids two moms or two days is to withhold…someone whom they desperately need and deserve. ” This quote is effective because it comes from a gay man who is actually raising children and giving his perspective, instead of radical advocates.
It persuades the reader that even if someone who is gay admits there is a problem with same gender families, then maybe it shouldn’t be allowed after all. However, this is using authority instead of evidence. If a gay man claims that children of same gender families are deprived of benefits that come with heterosexual parents, then it must be true because he’s gay and has children. While it is convincing, there is no substantial evidence to support that this is claim is applicable to all same gender families.