One of the chief tactics in the advocacy of same-sex marriage legalization is to point out the supposed parallel with interracial marriage bans. I recently had two separate exchanges on the topic and this argument was the centerpiece of the discussion. The argument is basically that discriminating based upon racial preference is really no different than discriminating based upon gender preference, and since we all now agree that interracial marriage is morally acceptable and should be legal, then there is really no moral or legal precedent for denying same-sex marriage.
Perhaps the argument has merit, but it depends upon the premise that race and gender are categorically the same – that two people of the same sex are socially and functionally the same as a man and woman of different races. I’d like to show now that this is a false premise, and that the parallel between race and gender is only superficial and ignores the profound categorical difference between the two.