Argument: Marriage is about creating children.
Rebuttal: Should senior citizen couples be able to marry even though they can’t have kids?
The first sentence above is an argument. The second sentence is an analogy. Analogies are often used to help understand arguments. They are different situations that are easy to understand and relate in some way to an argument.
Some LGBT supporters, while using analogies like the one above in favor of their position, reject all analogies against their position. They claim analogies against LGBT arguments are all disanalogies. Disanalogies occur when the related point to an argument is so different that it does not legitimately compare.
Consider the following analogy: homosexuality is natural because it occurs in animals. This analogy implies that what is natural is good. I have a friend whose dog mounted his neighbors dog right on the sidewalk! This is natural for dogs – should it be for humans? The neighbors dog became pregnant and when the first pup popped out she ate it! This is natural for dogs – should it be for humans? Now if one is going to compare the natural behavior of humans with animals, it is invalid to cherry pick only what supports ones point and ignore everything that doesn’t. The comparison here between human morality and animal behavior is a disanalogy.
Valid analogies must relate in some way to the point of an argument. The opening analogy is strong because it analogizes the same point as the argument – marriage requires procreation. The closer an analogy is to the point of an argument, the stronger it is.
Argument: People should be able to marry who they love.
Rebuttal: Should people be able to marry their sibling?
In response, the charge is usually made that gay and incestuous relationships are completely different, therefore the comparison is a disanalogy. Now of course they are different – it’s required to be – it’s an analogy. If they were the same it would not be an analogy. But they are not completely different. Just as it is valid to analogize same-sex marriages with heterosexual senior citizen marriages, it is valid to analogize any type of marriages because they do have similarities.
Consider the follow analogy:
Gay and straight marriages involve two people in a romantic relationship for life.
This analogy is not saying gay and straight marriages are identical. It’s only claiming to have three things in common – two people, romantic relationship, for life.
Gay, straight, and animal marriages involve two people in a romantic relationship for life.
Some animals have life-long mates but none marry. This is a disanalogy.
Gay, straight, and incestuous marriages involve two people in a romantic relationship for life.
This analogy isn’t saying gay marriage is morally the same as incestuous marriage anymore than incestuous marriage is morally the same as straight marriage. It is only comparing three aspects of marriage, which indeed do apply to all three – a valid analogy.
Some claim that non-affirming people of gay relationships are ignorant. Some may be but LGBT supporters who reject all analogies against there position are ignorant as well. Analogies are extremely helpful in understanding arguments and to reject valid analogies hinders their understanding of their own arguments and others.