Full disclosure: I know Matt Birk, having played with him for multiple years in the NFL. I think he’s a smart, funny person who has done both good things in the community here in Minnesota as well as with the concussion issue facing disabled players. I respect Matt, and I respect his right to his own views and ideas. However, in this instance, Matt I think you’re wrong. This is not an attack on you as a person or your beliefs, but the argument you presented in the Star Tribune simply does not stand up to logical inspection.It is good that he is trying to be charitable but he is actually arguing against Birk's beliefs.
Problem the first – Your argument lacks facts, sources, or statistics. You can’t just say “Same -sex marriage is bad for kids because I think it’s bad for kids, and I think it’s bad for kids because it’s bad for kids”. That’s called circular reasoning and it’s a logical fallacy. If you want us to understand why same-sex marriage is bad for kids, you need to provide some sort of substantial evidence. Tell us that children from same-sex couples are more likely to grow up broke and miserable and alone and will end their days starving in a gutter. Just don’t use a study like this one, which displays clear source and confirmation bias (as outlined neatly in this article from Slate). Use something like thisThis is funny. Use studies. They contradict each other so use the ones I like. Why? Because they say I am right. So who is engaged in circular logic?
He makes another assumption. That we need studies. That we can't figure out what is good for kids any other way. Before we had the internet and could trade links to studies we don't understand we had to make decisions about children. Guess what? We have an intuition about what is a good situation for children and what is not. Should we ignore that? Gay marriage is trendy. Do we want to bet a child's future on something just because it is fashionable? It shows a lack of seriousness about the business of raising children. They are political props that we use when we can make them help us and ignore when they don't.
Problem the second – Your argument that “government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids” is flawed on two counts. The first flaw is one of simple mathematics – if “marriage” is so necessary to the proper raising of children, why are we not passing an amendment to outlaw divorce?Very confusing. Does he think Birk is in favor of divorce? I would be shocked if he is. Same-sex marriage is the issue on the ballot. So why bring up divorce? It is a bad idea too. Because we have already done terrible things to marriage we should continue? Is that the argument?
The second flaw is that you’re actually arguing in favor of same-sex marriage. If children having a stable home is the main crux of your concern, then denying gay couples the benefits of 1100 federal laws can only harm the children they will raise. Not allowing those children the same health benefits, family care benefits, survivor benefits; that can only be a detriment to the upbringing and care of a child, correct? Or do you propose that same-sex couples should be unfit for adoption, should be unfit to raise children?I would suspect Birk is against same-sex adoption too. Again, not the issue on the ballot. The 1100 federal laws are a red herring. Including gay couples in those benefits might make sense. So change the laws that make sense to change. Don't just charge into 1100 unexamined law changes because it was politically correct.
Problem the third – You’re conflating “‘if it feels good, go ahead and do it’” with couples that want the stability and benefits of marriage and just so happen to be gay. There’s plenty more heterosexual couples that marry because “it feels good, go ahead and do it” with no intention of ever having children than there are same-sex couples (again, simple mathematics). Should we deny marriage to anyone who doesn’t plan to have kids? What about the infertile couples? The old people? You yourself say “Marriage is in trouble right now — admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions.” So why the discrimination? Why should we be passing a constitutional amendment denying legal rights to American citizens who pay taxes and serve in our armed forces? If “marriage” is so important, why aren’t we going after all those “many other reasons” first?
Again, bringing up another issue that is not on the ballot. We need to fix every problem in the world before we can answer the same-sex marriage question. Until then the default answer is Yes for some strange reason. Marriage can be about procreation even if not all marriages produce children. The essence of man and woman is such that they can produce children. It is enough that a couple have those essences even if they don't reflect them well enough to be fertile. It does not make those essences unimportant.
Problem the fourth – Marriage has already been redefined multiple times over the years. Marriage used to be one man and multiple women. Marriage used to be a way to exchange property between two families. Marriage used to be between brother and sister to keep the royal bloodline pure. Marriage used to be between children. Marriage used to be only for people that were the same skin color. Marriage used to be a lot of things, many of them oppressive towards women and minorities.Most of this is just false. Polygamy was accepted once but a marriage was between one man and one woman. The man would just have multiple marriages. Similarly the other things don't effect the definition of marriage. It was just an instance of marriage that we would not longer find acceptable.
I think I’d rather marriage be between two people that love each other and are committed to each other no matter what combination of fleshy bits are hanging off their bodies; not a reality TV show.Is this about what we would rather have marriage be? Does that not assume a lot? That marriage is up for definition based on our preferences? Nothing other than human opinion need be considered.
Then there is his caricature of gender. Does he really believe that the essence of man and the essence of woman begins and ends with anatomy? I doubt it. It is more a willful ignorance.
Problem the fifth – You’re trying to raise a religious argument in a secular matter. The First Amendment isn’t just about the freedom FOR religion, it’s also about the freedom FROM religion. The word “marriage” appears in thousands of legal documents and laws in this nation, and to attempt to narrowly define it through a religious application means you’re trying to assert a religious viewpoint on those who may not necessarily hold the same views. Our founding fathers knew quite clearly the dangers that state sponsored religious persecution could inflict (they lived through it!), and the First Amendment is worded in favor of state neutrality for a reason. I will support your right to worship at whatever altar you choose, but I will not support you trying to force it on someone else, or to deny someone else legal benefits due to religious reasoning.More nonsense. Religion cannot be imposed on a minority by the government. But that does not mean government policy cannot be informed by ideas that flow from religion. If those ideas have the support of the majority then they can be implemented. Even the constitution itself uses religious logic. All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ...
Problem the last – The only impact same-sex marriage will have on your children is if one of them turns out to be gay and cannot get married. What will you do (and I ask this honestly) if one or more of your kids ends up being gay? Will you love them any less? What will your actions speak to them, 15 years from now, when they ask you why they can’t enjoy the same relationship that you and your wife have now?This is also silly. Morals always get hard when people we love break them. If your child commits adultery does that mean adultery is OK? It is just an attempt to appeal to sentiment. I can feel sentimental about the guy who just robbed a bank. He might have a very sad story to tell. But we can't make our law about bank robbery based on that story.