Is anyone actually in favor of marriage equality?
It has become politically incorrect to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that no other type of interpersonal relationship qualifies. People will say, “You’re being discriminatory. You’re being a bigot. Marriage should be marked by equality. We don’t treat black people differently than white people so we shouldn’t treat same sex attracted people differently than opposite sex attracted people.” But the question that should immediately form in our minds is, “why is marriage something that government is involved in to begin with?” What’s the compelling state interest in the government being involved in the interpersonal relationships in our lives in general?
This comes down to the family, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but I want to return to our central question. Is anyone actually for marriage equality? I would put forth to you that I don’t think anyone actually is for marriage equality, because marriage equality would mean that all relationships are looked at equally and they are all equally valid in terms of being able to be called a marriage or not. It’s not just a man and woman. We’re told now that it could be a man and man or a woman and a woman or a man who thinks he’s a woman and a man, maybe. Transgendered issues come into this. To be equal, we need to treat everyone the same way.
Okay, what about if I love my dog so much that I want to marry it? It wouldn’t be treating me equally to say that I can’t do that, because marriage equality means marriage for everyone. Anyone who wants to get married, right? We’ve talked about intersex relationships, same sex relationships. What about intergenerational or cross generational love? Someone who’s forty with someone who’s twelve. If we’re going to be in favor of marriage equality and giving the same options to everyone, we should say to the forty year old, “Yes, you can marry a twelve year old. You can marry your daughter. You could marry your mother.” That’s what marriage equality would mean based on the definition that’s been advanced today. Hopefully what you see is that if marriage means everything, then marriage means nothing.
All of this should bring us to the question of why is government involved at all? Why has government seen fit to promote marriage? When it comes to any issue, government has three options. It can simply prohibit something and say you cannot do that, it can permit it and say that’s acceptable or it can promote it and give it elevated status or a tax break or other benefits. Traditionally, government has promoted heterosexual unions for a specific reason. It has not prohibited same sex unions, it has permitted them. It has not been illegal in this country to be gay. In some countries it has been and there’s certainly been a social stigma associated with it. But government has permitted those type of relationships.
It has not promoted them until recently. This should raise the question, “why has government promoted heterosexual relationships”, long term ones and monogamous ones, which is what marriage means. The reason for that is because as a group and as a rule and by nature, heterosexual unions provide for the next generation, literally. They provide a stable environment for a couple to create and raise a child. Fathers and mothers, two parent households are best for raising children, but it’s not just two parents. It’s a mother and father. It’s not two individuals. Studies have borne this out. More than that, having a father in the home, specifically, has a salutary effect on reducing the likelihood that child will act out poorly in school or commit crime when he or she is older.
What we see is the family is really the social foundation for our whole society. Marriage is at the center of what it means to be a family, because it incentivizes couples to stay together even when their relationship is hard. Because they’re going to stay in it for maybe just the benefits that come from sharing a residence and getting tax breaks and coming together to stay together in the relationship for the sake of their children. But same sex relationships do not as a rule, as a group, and by nature create and provide for the next generation. They have no ability to do that. Any child that a same sex couple raises has been deprived of the right to a mother and father.
Remember, it’s not just parenting that’s important for a child, it’s mothering and fathering. These two sexes bring different things to the parenting relationship that are complementary, and both are necessary. Children raised in same sex households are much more likely to be on welfare, to obtain lower education and they’re much more likely to suffer depression. They’re also likely to have been arrested more often. If they are female, they’re more likely to have more sexual partners that are both male and female. There are other negative factors that go along with being raised in a same sex household. Now, is this trying to say that a lesbian can’t be a good mother? No, she could be. But what she can’t be is a father. It’s not to say that two gay men could not be good fathers, but what they cannot be is a mother, and children have a right to a mother and father. For millennia, society has understood this and it’s why it has not privileged a same sex marriage.
But all of that is changing now. You look at Ireland, which has by the vote of the populace legalized same sex marriage. This is coming to a head in America, too, with the Supreme Court considering cases on same sex marriage and what does that mean for existing relationships and future relationship and children and all of that. This is at the center of political focus in our country. As Christians, we need to be able to articulate reasons why marriage should be between a man and a woman. Indeed, it doesn’t make sense to call something else a marriage. If the government says that now you can have same sex “marriages”, that doesn’t mean that’s actually a marriage. We can call something something different, but that doesn’t actually mean that that’s what it is. Just because we redefine terms doesn’t mean that the actual existence of an object has changed.
If I call blue, blue, and you start calling orange, blue, that doesn’t mean that we’re talking about the same thing just because we’re using the same word. This is the same thing that occurs when you talk with Mormons and they use the word “trinity”, and they use the word “God” and “Jesus” and “salvation”. All of these words sound like we’re talking about the same thing, but we’re not. It’s the same way when you say that we can redefine marriage because marriage is not something that’s defined, it’s described. If it can be defined, then it can be redefined. If we’re redefining it now, why should we stop at simply two people? Why not three people?
This is another area where people are not in favor of marriage equality because any argument that has advanced to say that marriage shouldn’t be just a man and a woman will almost always lobby for a throuple, for three person “marriages”. Or for intergenerational love. Old people and young people or relatives or my dog and myself. These type of things are what would come along with the ability to redefine marriage.
You’ll notice so far, I’ve given some reasons why marriage should be a man and woman. It’s best for children, that is the primary one. But what I’ve haven’t done so far is use the Bible. It’s not because I think the Bible is a liability. It, in fact, is the grounding of the reason why I hold this position, but most of the time when we’re talking with culture, they’re not going to see the Bible as an authority. We need to be able to appeal to something outside of our religion. Something that is in the real world that affects everyone and where the evidence and results can be seen by everyone. This is why talking about children and the salutary effect that being raised by both a mother and a father has on a child is extremely important. What is lost all of the time in this conversation about marriage “equality” is the wants of adults are being put above the needs of children. The wants of adults, their desires, are being elevated as the primary motivating factor in making decisions that effect most, children. It should not be that way. That is the mark of a selfish society.
Sadly, that’s the state we find ourselves in. As a Christian, I understand why marriage is best between a man and a woman because all the way back in Genesis, in Genesis 1:26-27, we see that God created us male and female in his own image to know him, to love him, to live with him and to glorify him. That is the chief end of man. We’re created in God’s image to do that. But notice, we were created male and female. We were created that way. When Jesus is asked about divorce, he gives an answer about marriage and it’s existence and grounding all the way back in Genesis and the created order of things. It’s a man and a woman that leave their parents and join together and become one flesh. It’s not two people. He didn’t use gender neutral terms there. No, he used gendered terms, a man and a woman leave their parents and join together, because that is how God has designed it.
When we map our social constructs like laws and policies over the naturally designed order of things, they’re going to work out for the best because they’re being used in the way that God designed them. In summary, to wrap this up, I would encourage you when you talk with someone about this issue to first, keep it calm and civil. That should be the mark of any conversation about faith and politics or religion or the intersection of these things. Secondly, ask people if they’ve considered that the reason government has promoted opposite sex marriage is because as a group, as a rule, and by nature, they provide for and create the next generation which stabilizes society. Most people haven’t even thought about it that way. They think marriage is about love.
In fact, one of the Supreme Court justices in the opening oral arguments of the Supreme Court case that was being heard and is now being considered, actually seemed to imply that one of the reasons government recognizes marriage is to bestow dignity on people. That’s just kind of a laughable idea. Government is not in the dignity handing out business. It’s in the stabilization and flourishing of society business. The only way a society flourishes if it has a next generation that is being groomed and created that will be healthy and robust. That is what opposite sex relationships that are long term and monogamous do. That is why government has promoted, not just permitted but promoted natural or traditional marriage.
I would encourage you, when you talk with people about this to try some of those lines of thinking. Try and point out that no one is really in favor of marriage equality because they’re not in favor of a throuple or polygamy or polyamory or polyandry or intergenerational love. They’re not in favor of those things. So, they’re not treating everything the same way and we shouldn’t treat everything the same way. We treat same things the same way and different things differently. It’s the reason why we discriminate when we say you can’t drive unless you’re sixteen and have passed the test. That’s age discrimination and everyone’s in favor of it because it’s for the best of society. It’s the same way when we say, “You can’t see? I’m sorry, you can’t drive.” That’s discrimination based on a disability but it’s appropriate because it’s for the overall safety and stability of society. It should be the same way with marriage when it comes to children.
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