May 14, 2012 by Dr. David Kendall
Last week our President announced the end of his personal evolution of thought on same-sex marriage by endorsing it. He acknowledges the deeply divisive nature of the issue and thus the differing conclusions to which others have, and will, come. He grounded his conclusions in a love ethic that endeavors to practice the Golden Rule and claimed that his thinking is rooted in our common Judeo-Christian heritage. Of course, many others disagree, respectfully or not. I am among those who disagree, respectfully.
What has fascinated me most is the way the question has been framed, in a way which involves a logical fallacy—if anyone really cares about such things—and also virtually precludes discussion.
The President’s announcement brought adulation and praise from many. Almost without exception (I didn’t see any) the praise came because our President took a stand for equality and for the freedom of people to choose for themselves. The President affirmed “marriage equality” and the individual’s right to choose whom to love and marry. There you have it—it’s a question of equality and freedom. Who can argue against such things? Who wants to stand up and say, “I do not believe all people alike should be able to marry!”? Or, “I believe someone other than you should decide whom you can love and marry!”?
But this way of framing the question “begs’ the question (the logical fallacy). To “beg” the question is to assume a part of what you want to prove as a basis for proving it.