Law, Marriage and the Same-Sex Debate

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Homosexuality itself is neither socially nor morally harmful to the Singaporean society because, excluding health risks, there is no significant adverse effects such as increased promiscuity or destabilization of society as proposed by Devlin and Thio. Thus, homosexuality ought to be morally accepted. The supporting reasons are:

  1. There is no legitimate or documented evidence to prove that homosexuality, a departure from the more common heterosexuality, would cause actual harm and crumbling of society, as argued by Devlin’s disintegration thesis. On the contrary, there is more proof substantiating that homosexuality will not cause the degradation of society’s morals (Hart, 1963).
  2. According to Thio, homosexuality is allegedly harmful to society because it will lead to increased promiscuity which may expose youths to sexual activities from a younger age. In reality, most homosexual males are only slightly more sexually active than their heterosexual peers (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994), and both homosexual and heterosexual men have equally high sex drives (Lippa, 2006). There is no distinctive impact of homosexuality on youths’ exposure to sex.
  3. Thio claims that the acceptance of homosexuality through legalization of same sex marriage would harm society because it would set a precedent for the justification and eventual acceptance of legitimately dangerous sexual behavior, like pedophilia and incest. This is a slippery slope argument and there is no historical evidence of such a relationship happening, even in countries where same-sex marriage are currently legal (Carpenter, 2005).
  4. As argued by Thio, there is an increased risk of health problems like STDs and anal cancer in men who have sex with men (MSM) attributing to more than 50% of new HIV patients annually (Ducre, 2015). However, with proper vaccination and caution rather than abstinence, this risk can be decreased.



Thio (2007) claims that the acceptance of homosexuality and legalization of same sex marriage would greatly harm society as it would allow for the justification and eventual acceptance of legitimately dangerous sexual behavior, like pedophilia and incest. She erroneously includes bestiality and incest under the umbrella of sexual orientation, alongside homosexuality, and assets that by making homosexuality legal, it would set a precedent for allowing bestiality and incest to be legal as well. Carpenter (2005) questions the logic behind such a claim as he declares the argument of the approval of homosexuality bringing about the acceptance of other legitimately unacceptable sexual behavior of bestiality and pedophilia to be a slippery-slope argument. Mitchell (2007) points out that, as seen in countries like USA and Taiwan where same sex marriage has been legalized, there have been zero movement to push for the legalization of bestiality or pedophilia. Supporting Carpenter’s stance, Araujo (2006) insists that legalizing same sex marriage does not logically presuppose the legal acknowledgement of incest, bestiality or pedophilia as such a causal relationship has never happened historically.

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Statistically, men who have sex with men (MSM) face greater likelihood of developing a sexually transmitted disease (STD) than any other group. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 57 percent of all diagnosed and undiagnosed human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) and 68 percent of annual new cases in USA are attributed to MSM. As such, as claimed by Thio (2007) it is empirically deniable that homosexuality in men is indeed harmful as it leads to increased risk of health issues. However, we cannot solely blame the sexual activities of MSM as there is a prominent difference between the treatment of heterosexual and homosexual patients that resulted in the latter receiving unequal health care, preventing them from being diagnosed until the later stages of the illness or receiving the same number of vaccinations and protection as heterosexual patients.

Meyer (2003) supports this claim of unequal health treatment of the LGBT community by attributing the higher rates of health issues on societal discrimination and stigma rather than the LGBT person himself. Some health physicians may be biased against homosexual patients and dismisses their health concerns. Badgett (2010) reports that in countries where same sex marriage is illegal, the LGBT community is further disadvantaged and more vulnerable as they lack sufficient health insurance to seek treatment when necessary.

Clearly, while homosexuality is undeniably harmful because of the increased health risks, the sexual activities of MSM are not the only reason. This is due to the social discrimination faced by them from medical practitioners and the government causing them to be more vulnerable to illnesses. Ducre (2015) insists that with equal health treatment and access for the LGBT community, the likelihood of MSM contracting STDs can be decreased as they would be given more and cheaper access to more vaccinations and other forms of protection against STDs. The harmful health impacts can be decreased with MSM being educated on the risks of engaging in sexual intercourse with men and urged to always use protection and regularly undergo tests (Ducre, 2015).

Reference List

  1. Carpenter, D. (2005). Bad Arguments Against Gay Marriage. Florida Coastal Law Review, 7(1), 181. Retrieved from: faculty_articles/174/
  2. Devlin, P. (1965). The Enforcement of Morals. London: Oxford University Press.
  3. Ducre, K. (2015, September 21). Out of the Closet, Into the Clinic: LGBT STD Statistics. STD Check. Retrieved from: std-statistics/
  4. Hart, H. L. A. (1963). Law, Liberty, and Morality. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  5. Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J., Michael, R., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  6. Lippa, R. A. (2006). Is High Sex Drive Associated With Increased Sexual Attraction to Both Sexes Psychological Science, 17(1), 46-52. Retrieved from:
  7. Ten, C. L. (1980). Mill on Liberty. Oxford University Press. Thio, L. (2007). 377A Serves Public Morality: NMP Thio Li-Ann, The Online Citizen. Retrieved from:
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Law, Marriage and the Same-Sex Debate. (2021, Jun 07). Retrieved from