Debating Gay Marriage (Intermediate)

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In this episode, Jill and Steve debate the issue of gay marriage.

Steve: Jill. Here we are again. We’re going to try to debate something. Let’s try to be controversial. Let’s talk about gay marriage.

Jill: A very popular subject in Canada.

Steve: It’s a big subject. I don’t think it concerns that many people in fact, but it seems to get a lot of press.

Jill: Yes.

Steve: Which side do you want to defend? And, we should say ahead of time that which ever side we choose it doesn’t have to be the way we think.

Jill: Actually feel, yeah.

Steve: No. But it’s just for the purpose of having a debate.

Jill: Right. I will defend the side, I guess I’ll take the side of gay, pro gay marriage.

Steve: Okay, pro gay marriage. Okay what does that mean? So you think gays should get married?

Jill: I think that yes, if two people love each other and want to be married and have the same rights as a married couple, a woman and a man here which means there are certain tax benefits and there’s different things that come along with a legally recognized marriage. And, if, if two men or two women want that then I think they should be able to.

Steve: Now it’s my understanding that the marriage issue is one step beyond getting the same rights. I understand that there is a common law arrangement, that there is a legal arrangement that gays can have because they live in a union. And that, with their partner and therefore they would share many of the same rights, if not all of the same rights as a married couple. But my understanding is what the gays want is they want the word marriage.

Jill: Marriage.

Steve: And, that’s where I draw the line. That’s where I draw the line because I think the word marriage has a lot of cultural significance in it. It has been around for a long, long time. So, what we’re really saying is that, and I think this is the crux of the matter, that the gays want to say our marriage, our union is as natural, as honorable, as wonderful as any other union.

Jill: Right.

Steve: And, that’s what I don’t agree with because the marriage of one man and one woman is pretty fundamental to our society.

Jill: And our survival.

Steve: Now, don’t agree with me. You’re supposed to disagree. So, and I think we have evolved to a situation where we think the marriage of one man and one woman is, can be a fairly equal relationship. One man and ten women, you know or one woman and ten men, we don’t think that’s good.

Jill: No.

Steve: No. One man and one woman, we think that’s kind of healthy. We think that’s good for the children, it provides a role model for sons and daughters. We think that’s good so people like that. They, that’s important to many people. So, I understand that the gays are saying it’s important for us to be recognized as the same as that but in fact, in my opinion it’s not the same. So that’s where I feel that, and the problem is that once it’s recognized legally as the same then the gays will try to force various institutions such as religions to grant them the same status as you know, heterosexual you know, monogamous relationships because it’s now law and it’s their right and so forth and so on. So, I just think it’s not necessary. I think, I have nothing against gays and they can live their lives however they want but I think that by the same token they should just respect this very, very universal and long standing institution of marriage.

Jill: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I can definitely understand that perspective however I think that, I mean the institution of marriage has changed a lot over the years and it’s, I mean people are getting divorced constantly. People are getting married five times and so I think to a lot of people it doesn’t mean very much and they just do it then it’s easy to undo it and I think that there could be gay people who might it might mean more to them than some heterosexual people and they may still want to be parents and they could be very good parents. They could be very good role models. There’s a lot of terrible parents out there that are heterosexual and that are married and have you know raised bad children or not good parents and so I just, yeah, I think that basically they should be given the same opportunity.

Steve: Okay. Certainly, I think there is a lot to what you are saying and that is that the hallowed institution of marriage may in fact contain all kinds of problems and we read some of the worst stories of child abuse and who knows what that happen and spouse abuse and so forth that happens in our traditional heterosexual marriages. And, it is true that divorce is more and more common but I think recognizing gay marriage is just one more sort of stone thrown at the institution of marriage. I also have a problem of the idea of gays adopting children or in the case of lesbians, artificially inseminating themselves. I guess you could have theoretically two pregnant partners.

Jill: Yeah, you could.

Steve: You know, it just gets away from what’s natural. What’s natural is not necessarily always good. There are nasty animals. There are animals that eat their young, you know what I mean? There are gay animals.

Jill: Antibiotics are not natural. I mean there’s lots of things that are …

Steve: No, No but I’m saying even within what is natural it’s not all good.

Jill: No, it’s not all good and,

Steve: It’s not all good and so there’s all kinds, I mean nature is not necessarily moral.

Jill: No.

Steve: It just is. But, to me, I’m a bit of a traditionalist and I always hope that one day the divorce rate will start going the other way, that we’ll have less and less divorce. I think a large part of the high divorce rate is this whole everything for me now kind of attitude that I tend to believe comes from our pop culture and so forth but I can’t prove it. But, so, no, I think that the fact that gays are not persecuted is a good thing. In fact, and ideally people who are gay at work and in very different situations, I don’t ask people who might be my employees or whom I deal with whether they are gay or not. If they happen to introduce me to their partner without happens to be of the same sex then okay. None of that bothers me at all. I just think there is a certain militancy sometimes on the part of gays and maybe that’s normal in any situation where people have been subject to some degree of persecution and you’ll have a sort of a militancy that kind of goes too far the other way. And I see nothing wrong with some kind of a civil union and similar tax breaks for gays as long as there is a commitment, you know to a long term relationship. Now, you could argue that nothing prevents heterosexuals from having a marriage of convenience for any number of tax advantages. A marriage of convenience, a divorce of convenience, all this kind of stuff. Whether it be for immigration reasons, social welfare reasons, I mean there is so much abuse and stuff everywhere so I’m not suggesting that heterosexual people are better than gays but I just think the institution of marriage to me, although if I’m perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter or bother me at all.

Jill: You’re just taking that side.

Steve: No, no, no, I’m saying I do believe the institution of marriage is important. Now I’m saying whatever you feel but the fact that gays are allowed to call themselves married doesn’t affect in any way how I feel about my own marriage.

Jill: No, exactly.

Steve: No impact. But it does, I just kind of feel somewhere that in our society, I just feel that the institution of marriage should be kind of

Jill: Sacred.

Steve: Buttressed a little bit. Helped along a little bit and shouldn’t be so easy to divorce, you know and all the different things that go on.

Jill: Well I agree with you there for sure, yeah.

Steve: You know? I think it was Napoleon that said you know, Jill we always end up agreeing at the end. You ought to get something.

Jill: Get a topic where we really do disagree.

Steve: Totally disagree. We’ll find something that’s nastier. But, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Napoleon once said that if you allow women to, if you allow divorce, divorce will happen. I mean there’s something to be said for that. If it’s just not an option or it’s very difficult to get a divorce people will find,

Jill: People will work it out.

Steve: They’ll find other solutions. So. We’ll talk about that next time. Hey, listen we forgot to say that this is so those of you who are hearing this you can also go to the website where you will find a transcript. And, if you’re really clever you will join the Linguist so that you can learn the words and phrases that will help you when you have to argue with someone in English. And, hopefully your argument will be more heart felt than the one I’ve just had with Jill.

Jill: Yeah.

Steve: Where we always agree. Okay.

Jill: Alright. Bye, bye.

Steve: Bye.

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