I am going to re-post my response to Carl Gobelman's blog entry, as instructed by a moderator. I've cleaned it up a little and expanded on the macro/micro distinction.
My wish is that Carl himself would respond to it.
There are also those who would summarily dismiss my opinion simply because of the fact that I am a Christian. That's fine! My opinion isn't shaped by the winds of popular sentiment, but what I believe to be absolutely true.
You sound like an atheist in training. Take it as a compliment.
Reason number one why I oppose gay marriage: It seeks acceptance by redefining traditional marriage. Throughout human history, the predominant view of marriage has always been heterosexual -- i.e., between a man and a woman.
Defining "traditional marriage" as that between a man and a woman is like defining "traditional scissors" as those designed for a right-handed person. Same-sex marriage and scissors designed for a left-handed person do not redefine "traditional marriage" and "traditional scissors"--they merely allow people who are not like the vast majority of us to enjoy things that the rest of us tend to take for granted.
Dictionaries have defined marriage as "the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc."
You took that from Dictionary.com. Let's look at their full entry for "marriage":
1. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.
2. the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock: a happy marriage.
3. the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of a man and woman to live as husband and wife, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.
4. a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage; homosexual marriage.
5. any close or intimate association or union: the marriage of words and music in a hit song.
6. a formal agreement between two companies or enterprises to combine operations, resources, etc., for mutual benefit; merger.
7. a blending or matching of different elements or components: The new lipstick is a beautiful marriage of fragrance and texture.
8. Cards. a meld of the king and queen of a suit, as in pinochle. Compare royal marriage.
9. a piece of antique furniture assembled from components of two or more authentic pieces.
10. Obsolete. the formal declaration or contract by which act a man and a woman join in wedlock.
So the dictionary angle clearly is not viable.
Proponents of gay marriage seek to change all of this by a radical redefinition of marriage. Now I ask the question: Is marriage defined by a society, or is a society defined by marriage? In other words, what I am asking is a sort of 'chicken or the egg' type question. Did marriage come into existence as a result of a society defining it, or did marriage exist prior to the development of society? I argue that marriage is logically prior to society. Societies come into existence as a result of individual families coming together on the basis of common needs and interests.
You are flirting heavily with the basic tenants of secular ethics.
And of course families are formed by men, women and their children. Families form the foundational building blocks of a society, and marriage is the glue that holds families together. A man and a woman making a lifelong commitment to love and serve one another and to fulfill their God-given mandate to 'be fruitful and multiply.'
Wait, I thought you weren't going to make arguments from the Bible! That's beside the point, though. Marriage isn't the glue that holds families together. Love and commitment hold families together. Obviously, marriage does not equate with or necessarily involve either love or
If marriage is no longer solely defined as between a man and a woman, that could have a potential disastrous effect on families, and by extension society as a whole. If that seems like a leap of logic, consider the following. If society is allowed to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples, then marriage is no longer a uniquely child-bearing relationship. And if marriage is no longer a uniquely child-bearing relationship, families will suffer because you have legally sanctioned marriages that cannot naturally produce children. While it is true there are heterosexual marriages in which the partners cannot or choose not to procreate, but that is not even a choice for a homosexual couple; the only way they could 'have' children is through adoption or through artificial insemination.
I'm sorry, but this passage is so ridiculous that it barely warrants a serious response. Read that last sentence again: While it is true there are heterosexual marriages in which the partners cannot or choose not to procreate, but that is not even a choice for a homosexual couple; the only way they could 'have' children is through adoption or through artificial insemination.
But what about those heterosexual couples who cannot procreate? You're saying, "Same-sex couples don't even have a choice in whether or not they can produce children through intercourse" --but you just admitted that many heterosexual couples are in precisely the same situation. Incidentally, no person who is against same-sex marriage has ever meaningfully addressed this problem, except to claim that same-sex couples are different because they've "chosen" their "lifestyle." If marriage is only for people who can procreate through intercourse, then couples who wish to marry should be required to have their fertility assessed before their marriage license is issued. And please don't come back with something like, You never know, couples who were thought to be infertile get pregnant all of the time. Let's remove all doubt--how about a man and a woman who have only heads, torsos and upper limbs? They shouldn't be allowed to marry, right?
(Edited to add--the macro vs. micro distinction is arbitrary. It's simply more jargon that's meant to rationalize an arbitrarily drawn line.)
I'll get to the "homosexuality is a choice" crap later.
While I am aware there are studies that assert children raised by homosexual couples do not fare any worse that children raised by heterosexual parent, I am not convinced. I believe God knew what he was doing when he created human beings as male and female.
You have said a mouthful here. Let me rephrase this:
Although there is scientific evidence that a healthy family can be built around a same-sex couple, I just have this feeling that God doesn't want them to be able to marry.
Who needs to argue "from the Bible" when you can just say, Eh, I dunno. I just have this feeling that God doesn't want this
Both father and mother provide important input into the creation and nurturing of children that a homosexual couple could never hope to do.
If this is true, why is there (by your own admission) scientific evidence that the children of same-sex couples "...do not fare any worse that children raised by heterosexual parent"? If a homosexual couple could never even hope
to nurture a child properly, wouldn't all children of same-sex parents experience significant emotional and social difficulty?
Redefine marriage and it becomes diluted. If marriage is diluted, then families suffer; and if families suffer, the society will suffer.
What do you mean by "diluted", and why do you assume that the dilution of marriage would lead to the suffering of families? Families suffer for a variety of reasons. Divorce, disease, death, financial misfortune, lack of love, etc. Families will not "suffer" because a few million people who were previously unable to marry are now able to do so.
Before I go on to your second point, I want to address one other aspect of the "marriage is for making kids" argument. There are estimated to be 50 to 200 million orphans on our planet. There have always been orphans, and there will always be orphans. There will always be kids who need loving parents. Likewise, there will always be couples who can not have a child through intercourse, whether we allow SSM or not. You have already acknowledged the scientific evidence that shows us that kids who are raised by same-sex couples fare no worse than those raised by man/woman couples. So, shouldn't we take steps to make sure that loving, committed same-sex couples who are willing and financially able to care for children are able to adopt if they wish to do so?
Reason number two why I oppose gay marriage: Redefining marriage to include gay marriage opens the door to further redefinition. This is the old 'slippery slope' argument. Some may dismiss it as being overly fear-mongering, but I haven't heard a good argument refuting it. If you seriously take a moment to consider the issue logically, you will see how true the slippery slope argument is in this case. If we've already gone through the steps of redefining marriage to include homosexual couples, what logical reason is there to prohibit further redefinition? If I say that marriage is no longer uniquely between a man and a woman, but can include a man and a man or a woman and a woman, why can't it include a man and many women (polygamy)? Why can't marriage include a woman and many men (polyandry)? Why can't marriage include a man and a minor age girl or boy (Pederasty)? Why not also a father and his daughter (or son)? Why can't marriage include a human being and an animal? As I mention some of these variations, I'm sure some were met with revulsion. Why is that? Is there a logical explanation for your revulsion? I would argue 'yes,' and that explanation is because it goes against our conscience -- the idea seems revolting because it is revolting. Mark my words! If gay marriage is legalized, as I suspect it eventually will, it will only be a matter of time before we see further erosion of the definition of marriage to include what was once considered revolting. And once we redefine marriage to mean whatever we want it to mean, it is robbed of any meaning. In other words, if marriage can mean anything, it becomes meaningless.
These are exactly the same arguments that were used against interracial marriage.
The "slippery slope" argument is weak because it's cartoonish.
In determining who should be allowed to marry, lines are drawn--they have to be. Pederasty is complicated by the fact that a line must be drawn as a cutoff age for consent, and that there is no absolute, or even national, consensus as to where exactly that line should be drawn. That said, in cases where the age of consent has clearly not been attained--say the kid is nine or ten--the line that's being crossed is one of consent. Same-sex marriage, as it exists between consenting adults, does not cross this line. A person who says "same-sex marriage will pave the way for pederasty" must be prepared to explain how society will go about rejecting the notion of the age of consent, because it is that element of pederasty that we find objectionable.
Likewise, polygamy is considered objectionable because it crosses a line that says, Marriage is between two individuals
. Again, same-sex marriage does not cross that line. A person who says "same sex marriage will pave the way for polygamy" must be prepared to explain how society will go about rejecting the Marriage is between two individuals
The "slippery slope" argument ignores the nature of homosexuality, pederasty, and polygamy and simply insists, If we move the line any further, from where it just happens to be at this point in the profoundly vast history of time, we're all doomed!!
It ignores the fact that we draw many lines, and that some of those lines have changed a great deal throughout the history of marriage.
Can you come up with a good argument against people marrying toddlers? Of course. Can you come up with a good argument against people marrying animals? Probably. How about a group of people marrying? That's probably a little harder. How about people of the same sex marrying? That's harder still, because the only line that it crosses is the one that says, Marriage is between a man and a woman
In effect, the slippery slope argument, as it's applied to this issue, says nothing more than Marriage should be between a man and a woman because marriage is between a man and a woman
Society needs marriage to work so that society will continue to exist. If marriage is solely for the personal happiness of the individuals involved, then I fail to see how that attitude won't eventually contribute to the slow decay of society. Statistics indicate that a woman must produce two healthy babies for a society to sustain its population. Since not all women can or want to have babies, other women must have more than two to stave off population decrease. We see that in Europe and we're beginning to see it here in America. Our population growth in America is due more to immigration than to viable births, and many Western European countries are experiencing a decline in population growth numbers due to a decline in viable births. Think of the long term effects of declining birth rates in our country. We're already facing an impending Social Security crisis. How bad will that crisis be when there aren't enough working people to pay for the benefits of the non-working people? That's just one example. It seems more and more people are getting married for the first time later in life and choosing to not have children. It's still a minority, but when marriage is not seen in its primary goal of building a viable family unit, this is bound to happen. Gay marriage doesn't help the situation because as previously mentioned, you will be introducing marriages into society that cannot produce children. Furthermore, gay marriage only exacerbates the notion that marriage is only for personal happiness.
None of this has anything to do with why SSM should or shouldn't be allowed. Should homosexuals not be allowed to marry because general trends in heterosexual
marriage don't please you? Same-sex marriage is about building a viable family. You have already admitted that same-sex couples can raise good, stable kids.
That's the main argument that gay marriage advocates use ("Why deny William and Robert the opportunity of entering a loving and committed relationship sanctioned by the state?"). This casts gay marriage as a civil rights issue, which is a category mistake of monumental proportions! If we can allow William and Mary to get married, then to deny William and Robert the same privilege is tantamount to denying William and Robert their civil rights. I saw some pictures of protesters arguing for the legalization of gay marriage and one held a sign that read "Gay is the New Black." In other words, gay rights advocates were equating their struggle with the struggle of African Americans during the civil rights movement of the 1960's.
If I were black, I would find this grossly offensive. The two issues aren't even remotely the same, and I'll tell you why. Having dark brown colored skin is genetic; it is something someone is born with. A person with dark brown colored skin doesn't have a choice in the matter and there is nothing they can do to change that fact. There is no consensus as to whether or not people are 'born gay,' but let's suppose for the sake of argument that there is a genetic cause that results in someone having a propensity toward homosexuality. That still does not make homosexuality a category of identity! Being born with a propensity toward homosexuality means a person will tend toward homosexual behavior; it doesn't 'make' them homosexual. Homosexuality is a behavior -- whether it's purely genetic or purely nurture. To make this argument a little more clear, a person who is born with dark brown colored skin isn't born with a propensity to 'being black.' Furthermore, there is nothing I can do to 'be black.' I am black; I can't do black! Being black is a category of identity, it is not a behavior. The bottom line here is you cannot equate the gay rights struggle with the black civil rights struggle because we're talking about two different categories of understanding. The civil rights issue for homosexuality is a non sequitor.
Your definition of homosexuality, as being strictly a behavior
, is wrong from just about every angle. Why not go back to what you've established to be a real authority--the dictionary. Here's the definition of "homosexual":
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex 2 : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex
Homosexuality can be described as "behavior," but it's also the force behind the behavior.
But, beyond that--why on earth would the fact that people are not "born" homosexual (which may or may not be true--I'll get to that in a second) mean that homosexuality isn't a "category of identity"? People aren't "born" with religious identifications, either--should we do away with the constitutional protection of religion because, well, they weren't born that way--why should they get special rights? Which "category of identity" is best described as a chosen lifestyle: Christianity, or homosexuality? The only intellectually honest response is, Christianity. Yet we protect religious people. Why? Because "identity" is so much more than what we can see with our eyes.
To conclude this argument, marriage is an institution that regulates the sexual activity of men and women. It sets boundaries for men and women to engage in sexual activity. This regulation helps society by reducing the instances of illegitimate children.
This doesn't make any sense at all. An "illegitimate" child is merely one born out of wedlock. Marriage helps society by reducing instances of children born outside of marriage
? Yikes. No offense, but, that one was a little embarrassing.
Married couples are obligated to raise the children they produce, and the are also obligated to not produce children with other partners outside of the marriage relationship. Marriage also helps regulate the transference of wealth and possessions, which provides for future generations. One spouse is automatically the legal beneficiary of the other spouse, and the legitimate children of the parents are the legal heirs of their possessions and wealth. All of this are ways in which marriage helps to promote a stable society.
These are all reasons for allowing same-sex marriage, to help strengthen their families.
I don't hold these positions because I have an axe to grind against gay people or because I'm a closet 'homophobe.' I hold my position first and foremost because of my religious convictions. My faith shapes my worldview and I am not afraid to admit that. I believe the original design for marriage was to be between one man and one woman, and any deviation from that standard is not only a violation of God's will and design for marriage, but will also have some deleterious effect on society. Secondarily I hold my position because of the weight of the three arguments I presented in this article.
This is the bottom line. I don't think you know very much about Natural Law--certainly not enough to draw a meaningful conclusion about how it might impact a specific piece of legislation. Be honest. The expression "Natural Law" just sounds right to you, because you believe in God and you think homosexuality is unnatural. Beyond that, all you're doing is regurgitating half-baked arguments that you've picked up here and there.
This is not meant as a personal attack. I hope you can see that this is a serious challenge to your arguments, and I hope you will take the time to respond to it. Please take an honest look at why you feel the way you do. You know in your heart that all of this crap about "redefining marriage" and Natural Law is just the product of people who are fighting for their religious beliefs.