Why oppose gay marriage?
When will the shameful histrionics, baseless slander, and sensational exaggerations stop? However you may feel about the issue of gay marriage itself, the “debate” over same sex marriage has brought out the worst in our society and raised troubling concerns about the health of our democratic Republic.
It seems that politicians, judges, and everyday Americans are tripping over themselves every day to proclaim their impassioned support for “marriage equality.” This is all fine, as long you’re honest about history (including your part in it, such as your past views) and charitable toward those who may not be as quick to “evolve” (or flip flop) as you may be. What galls me about this whole thing is that few people (particularly those on the side of gay marriage) are being honest, fair, or charitable on this issue. Instead, those who advocate same-sex marriage seem to be in a competition with one another to see who can most colorfully and decisively denounce those on the “wrong side of history” (i.e., those with whom they disagree).
Before my pro-gay marriage friends jump on that last statement, I freely admit that many gay marriage opponents have been less than charitable over the years. But more and more traditional marriage advocates, like myself, are policing our ranks and rightly calling out the extremists for appropriate censure. I have repeatedly blogged against and preached against the Westboro Baptist Church cult (a group that’s neither a church, nor Baptist) and I’ve even taken to task more mainstream evangelical leaders who have stepped over the line in harshly attacking our gay and lesbian neighbors and fellow citizens. I believe we should treat one another with civility and kindness, and that should extend to every corner of society, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. In fact, I believe the evangelical community needs to do a much better job in showing love toward the LGBTQ community and building bridges and relationships to put that love into motion and practice. I commend, for example, pastors like Rick Warren who have tried to do this by aggressively fighting AIDS. And I’m glad that more and more Christians are locking arms to oppose the hate coming out of groups like Westboro, but…
At this point, most of the hate and persecution isn’t coming from the Christian community, it’s coming from the LGBTQ community and their supporters. When a federal judge brands opposition to same sex marriage as a “tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination,” a line has been crossed. We’re no longer in the realm of reasoned debate and constructive discourse. We’re instead in the realm of propaganda and slander. And when consultants are fired from corporate contracts because they wrote books (in their private time) against same sex marriage or when CEOs are forced to resign because they once donated to groups that opposed gay marriage, we’re no longer in the realm of political disagreement. We’re instead in the realm of persecution and on the cusp of enforced Political Correctness and Thought Police.
Of those Americans who still oppose gay marriage (and their ranks are getting smaller, thanks to the slander, mischaracterization, persecution, intimidation, and scare tactics decimating their ranks), most are NOT doing so for reasons associated with hate or homophobia. Most opponents of gay marriage recognize that gay and lesbian citizens should be treated with kindness, courtesy, and respect AND should have the same rights of heterosexual Americans, including in the areas of hospital visitation, contracts, home ownership, estate matters, etc, etc.
The reason some Americans still object to same sex marriage and continue to insist that marriage should be understood (legally at least) as one man and one woman is because most of the world (certainly the western world) has historically defined marriage around children with government’s only vested interest in the institution being the stabilization of society via generations (united by childbirth) supporting and taking care of another. Childbirth literally ties together the generations, socially (and legally via marriage) obliging them to support and care for one another. This is why societies generally with the healthiest families are themselves healthier and more prosperous than those without healthy families. While some heterosexual couples are unwilling or unable to have children, the bottom line is that the human race is perpetuated by heterosexual relations. That’s an unassailable, obvious, biological fact. And marriage has classically been defined around that fact.
Expanding that definition of marriage leads to legitimate questions like, Where does the redefinition of marriage stop? Once you open Pandora’s Box, you can’t close it again. If you say that loving, consenting adults should be allowed to marry, regardless of gender, then you MUST LOGICALLY ALSO SAY that loving, consenting adults should be allowed to marry even if we’re talking about three, four, five, or six people. In the last few years, whenever opponents of gay marriage have raised the polygamy issue, they’ve been met
Traditionally, marriage has been defined around procreation.
with eye rolls, ridicule, and accusations of bringing up red herrings, but polygamy is on the move. Thanks to a recent court ruling, polygamy is now effectively legal in Utah. Is there any doubt that this will soon extend to other states of the Union?
It is legitimate (not hateful and not homophobic) for people like myself to believe that marriage should remain defined and understood as one man and one woman — as it has been for most societies throughout most of history.
Is it also legitimate for the LGBTQ community to ask that marital rights be extended to them in the form of civil unions? Absolutely. Is it legitimate for them to ask that the definition of marriage be expanded to include them, given that not all heterosexual couples have children? Yes, it’s valid to have that conversation. As a democratic society, we should have that debate. But it should be a fair and honest debate. And those of us taking part in that debate should be able to come down on various sides of the debate without fear of political, social, legal, or economic penalties and reprisals. Unfortunately, that is NOT the case. Those who oppose same-sex marriage do so at increasing risk to themselves. They can lose business, find their careers in jeopardy, or be excluded from certain social circles. And if this trend continues, they will be effectively (albeit perhaps not legally) excluded from political office, the workplace, the public square, and “polite society” altogether, and not even those in faith-based organizations or churches will be safe.
As an evangelical Christian, I will always oppose same-sex marriage in church and faith-based circles. Why? Not because of hate or bigotry. On the contrary, I believe we should love everybody, and I carry no hatred or malice toward anyone, certainly not for any reasons associated with a person’s sexual orientation. I personally oppose same-sex marriage in religious circles (and thus will never perform a gay wedding) because the Bible clearly lays out a standard of marriage being one man and one woman. (Note that those who say the Bible also endorses polygamy are showing their ignorance. Polygamy was a departure from God’s plan. See Genesis 1-2 for that plan).
As a citizen of the United States, I recognize that I can’t impose my religious views on the the rest of society, and I have absolutely NO desire to prevent consenting adults from living together in whatever arrangement (heterosexual or homoexual) they choose. I also accept that civil unions or some form of civil protection is appropriate for gay and lesbian couples. And, in the spirit of religious freedom, I even support the right (though not the decision) of churches to solemnize gay marriage. Religious freedom can’t be only for those who oppose gay marriage. It must be for every person of faith and religious entity.
But when you legally redefine marriage to include gay and lesbian couples, you MUST also include relationships with more than two loving, consenting adults. You can’t allow one without the other. And once you’ve expanded the definition of marriage to include not only same-sex couples, but also polygamous and polyamorous relationships, then marriage is effectively meaningless. For this reason, I simply can’t support same-sex marriage. But…
This is not a proverbial hill to die on. The American people have made their opinions clear, and same sex marriage is on the move and will soon be legal in all 50 states. It’s inevitable. And polygamy will be next. I recognize this. While I intend to stand up for my convictions, I am under no illusions as to what the outcome of that battle will be. We are a democratic Republic, and the majority will ultimately prevail. For me, the most important task isn’t stopping the inevitability of gay marriage and polygamy, but salvaging what’s left of our democratic Republic. If, in the course of these changes, we lose the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the right to freely exercise our religion, then we will have lost something that can’t be replaced. We will have lost our very soul as a nation. I pray that we will not let that happen.