Are there positions you have that are not conservative?
For instance I support same-sex marriage, legalized prostitution and the legalization of marijuana (but not other drugs) even though I would never touch the stuff myself if they legalized it tomorrow.
Although as a conservative I wouldn't use the courts to force their legalization.
Bottom line: more research needs to be done, but SSM policy is taking a huge risk.
Eric, while I'm sure the leap that you're making is highly correlated, that isn't necessary causal to decreased birth rate. I would suggest that decreased birth rates are more closely correlated with the changing dynamic of society (marriage taking place later in life, women becoming an increased portion of the workforce, women that rely less on men for traditional support roles, among other things). Females have always been the driving force behind birth. It's in their nature. Reduce a woman's motivation to have children by creating society-based distractions, and lower birth rates will result. How is SSM more causal than the changing of women's role in society?
Take the U.S. for example (although I hate using only one society as evidence to support my thesis, my assumption is that the U.S. is similar to other westernized countries). Birth rates have been dropping here since 1900 - 2010, about half of what they were in 1900. (See here: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html). There have only been laws in place allowing SSM (in only very few states) until just recently. If SSM was only cause of the drop in birth rates, you would expect birth rates to be consistent when SSM was not allowed. This is clearly not the case and points to many other factors as the cause.
Ok, we are making some excellent progress and finding common ground. Garrett stipulates that SSM is an untested factor in population decline (notable that I totally agree and have been arguing this point). He lists the other significant factors as late marriage, working women, independent women, society, and I would add selfishness. So, the question becomes, which of those factors should government have any influence over? Answer: marriage (specifically marriage that will add to the next generation). The government encourages people to get married to populate; to create and raise the next generation. Government should not encourage SSM because it has a fatal flaw and will lead to a more rapid decline in the population (not the only factor, obviously, but a factor). This is societal suicide; and it is societal suicide funded by the American taxpayer (which I find unacceptable). No one can answer for me where the tipping point is, so it is a risk I am not willing to accept.
We must ask ourselves as non theists what is our greater purpose? Are we Epicureans who are just in it for ourselves. Or, are we in it for humanity (Humanism, although I do not accept the widely accepted definition of Humanism, but that is another topic). We could also be in it for America, or family. I lean toward the America and family side of things. To make a strong America, we need some basic building blocks: resources (people included...offspring!), laws, wealth, well-being, and productivity (not all inclusive). Each of these building blocks should be greater OR more productive than that of other societies in order to keep America the greatest. I think America should be the greatest because I think we offer the best hope for the future (i.e., laws which prohibit religious slavery, etc.).
I'm very pleased with the progress of this discussion and look forward to more.
Slippery slope fallacies abound here.
James, your blind faith is stunning. Is it dogma or ego that drives you to your conclusion? What is your larger purpose so that I may understand? I have answered all your questions, you have answered none of mine. Let's give this Reason thing a chance.
It's not blind faith to NOT believe in something that has no supporting evidence. You are using the same logic that a theist does. I have only had ONE question, where is your proof? You want to limit the rights of a group of individuals without any supporting evidence. Your assertion that SSM will result in population decline is a slippery slope fallacy that is based on no evidence. WHERE'S YOUR EVIDENCE ERIC STUBBS?
His theory is different than mine, but mine is supported by his data: Birth rate among same-sex married couples is below sustainment levels and there is a very strong risk that that the relevant society will decline in population to the point of extinction.
If Americans are willing to take this risk, so be it. Unfortunately when that society disappears, it will happen without a sound. I guess I'm one of the few people alive today who cares that an entire demographic might disappear within a few hundred years helped along by government policy.
Thanks to all who participated. I hope we can have similar discussions on other topics in the near future.
This has been a strange but interesting discussion.
My speculation on that point is that most men who marry but later come out of the closet don't do so until approaching middle age. Assuming the age difference between spouses is typical (not huge), then the wives of such men already would have had most of the kids they were going to have regardless of husband sexuality. Also, I want to add that it's my belief and supported by 'formerly gay' men on The Dr. Oz Show that not-always-heterosexual men marry women mainly to have kids. (Selfish jerks, in my opinion, but the women who marry them probably also share some blame.)
Personally, I think the 'naturally' gay male percentage of the population probably will decline, or is already declining, regardless of gay marriage (which I don't support). Why? Because family size is shrinking, and gay males are more likely to be later-borns. The increasing visibility of gay males will mask any decline for a long time.
Michael, on June 4, 2012, posted "Indeed, it's very hard to divide most issues into 'liberal' or 'conservative'."
I find it impossibly hard. Risking oversimplification, I divide issues into progressive and conservative. I will explain only the former; the latter is well understood.
Several people here have identified assisted suicide, legal pot, and other rights we do not now enjoy. They can and perhaps will be made real by libertarians or progressives.