It’s an honest question – one I’ve been asking for a couple years, but have yet to get a straight answer on. Unfortunately this topic has become so overlaid with hysteria and nastiness that I first have to clarify my views up front:
1) I believe every human being bears the image of God, regardless of one’s race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, political orientation, level of stupidity, usefulness, like or dislike for Mac vs PC, or any other distinction that can be named. Therefore all human beings have innate, objective worth that derives from their Creator.
2) I believe the best course for our nation (and all nations) is pluralism and freedom. All ideas, even bad ones, should be up for rational discussion. Good ideas have nothing to fear from being tested.
3) I’m opposed to totalitarian state authority, liberal or conservative, no matter how benevolent it claims to be. I’m opposed to theocracy. Personally, I’m a follower of Jesus as he is revealed in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. However, I don’t expect people who are not followers of Jesus to behave like followers of Jesus. People are free to live with and love whatever consenting adults they choose.
Note: My question is not about homosexuality per se, but about redefining marriage.
To get at the question I must first point out an obvious fact. Besides homosexuality, there are several other types of sexual behaviors that have traditionally been considered taboo in Western culture: incest, polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality. (Please note that I am not comparing homosexuality to these behaviors.) In Western culture, marriage has virtually always been narrowly defined to exclude homosexual relationships, as well as these other taboo relationships. Marriage has been narrowly defined as husband and wife. Heterosexual marriage has been recognized by the State as the formation of a new family unit – a stabilizing and “civilizing” structure for men, a safe place for women, and the best context for producing and raising children who will become productive citizens. The unity in diversity as equals in heterosexual marriage isn’t going away anytime soon. Indeed, in the gay marriage “debate”, opponents of gay marriage are often asked, “Why do you think broadening the definition of marriage to include gays threatens heterosexual marriage?” My main concern, among many, is that broadening the definition at all will ultimately render the whole definition meaningless.
My concern about gay marriage has to do with legal precedent – the so-called slippery slope.
What is the reasoning that would expand the definition of marriage to include homosexuality, but would exclude the other four deviant sexual behaviors listed above? Arguments I’ve heard for accepting gay marriage can also be used to support the inclusion of these other behaviors. For example, the (as yet unproven) argument that people are born gay. What if pedophiles are born that way? Surely no one would choose to be a pedophile, given the utter social repugnance around it. But pedophilia is universal and as old as recorded history. As you read this, many world cultures accept child marriages. (Of course, the children involved are always female.) Lacking any clear reasoning that would prevent the normalization of these types of relationships in marriage, once marriage ceases to be narrowly defined, the door will be open for all deviancies to be included eventually. If you disagree, please give me rational grounds for excluding them. This is the way that legal precedent works. Even if a Judge personally finds such behaviors distasteful, in the absence of a reason to do otherwise, he/she will have to follow binding precedent and allow the next domino to fall, and then the next.
If marriage is redefined to include anything beyond the traditional definition of heterosexual monogamy, I contend the losers will be women and children, and especially girls, as usual. (Of course, men and boys will also lose, but will continue to be too oblivious to realize it.)
Here’s one example of how “marriage equality” will change our culture using the example of incest. My wife and I have raised 5 children together. At some point in their early childhoods, each of our children have independently come up with the same idea. Usually after a day of playing together, each child has pulled us aside at some point and confided that when he or she grows up, he or she plans to marry their opposite-sex sibling. It’s very cute and endearing. We’ve always smiled and sympathetically informed them that brothers and sisters can’t get married. We could see the little wheels turning in their heads as they gaze at the floor, a bit disappointed at the new revelation. Sometimes it’s led to more discussion, but it’s always been a formative moment. It clarifies the sibling relationship and defines sibling love as a something sacred, unique, and non-sexual. Remove that cultural taboo and I’m certain that the result will be an increase in boys perping on their sisters. This goes on now even with the incest taboo firmly in place.
So, here is THE QUESTION NO ONE WILL ANSWER:
Let’s say there are two mature women who love each other very much, enjoy a consenting sexual relationship, and want to commit their lives to each other in marriage. The two women happen to be biological sisters. What possible reasoning would prohibit them from being considered married in the eyes of the State? Or, to put it in contemporary parlance, “Who are you to impose your hateful, bigoted morality on these two women and deny them equal treatment?”
If your answer is “let them marry,” then down goes the incest domino, and we’re staring down the cold logic of moral relativism as the next domino begins to wobble. This is not a rhetorical question. If you disagree with me, I welcome your civil response, but I need to hear a rational answer to the question.
I recommend this THIS PAPER for a comprehensive read on the topic of marriage.