A Case Against Same-Sex Marriage (1)

In a post last week I briefly mentioned that I’m against gay marriage, and a couple of people have asked that I explain why that is. That is a very reasonable request, so I will seek to explain my opposition to same-sex marriage in the next three posts. Of course, this can’t be exhaustive, and I’m not an expert, but I’ve spent some time on this and will try to explain some of my reasons.

A couple of things I want to make really clear at the outset. First, I do not hate homosexuals. I don’t think they’re worse than me, or that their behavior is wrong simply because it grosses me out. I believe that God is the author of sex, that he therefore has the right to stipulate how it’s used, and that he limits sex to the confines of the marriage of a man and a woman. And I believe all this is because sex is good, because God is good, and because he wants us to use it in the way that’s best for us.

Second, I don’t think homosexuality is in a category of its own as some kind of especially bad, send-you-straight-to-hell sin. All sin, including mine, is an offense against a holy God, and all of it can be forgiven and wiped off the slate when we repent and trust in Christ.

Third, as I said in two posts last week (this one and this one), the solution to everything that’s wrong with society is not the prevention of gay marriage, or the institution of any kind of moral code. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. So I don’t mind talking about this stuff as a matter of presenting my beliefs, but I’m under no illusions that homosexuals are ruining everything or that stamping out gay marriage will turn the country into a wonderful Christian hetero-paradise.

With all that said, then, I’ll start with my most fundamental reason for opposing same-sex marriage:

The consistent Biblical definition of marriage, and the prohibition of same-sex intercourse. From creation (where one man and one woman are given to each other) to the law of Israel to Jesus’ affirmation of that law to Paul’s specific comments on homosexuality, the Bible is consistent and clear that sex is to be enjoyed in the context of marriage, which is between a man and woman. These are just a few examples; there are many others.

There are basically three ways to look at Scripture’s position on homosexuality. One possibility is that Scripture prohibits homosexual acts, and that it is right to do so. Another is that Scripture prohibits homosexual acts, and it is wrong to do so. The third is that Scripture does not prohibit homosexual acts. Of these, the last is by far the least plausible. It makes a lot more sense to say “Of course the Bible forbids homosexual acts. Who cares?” than it does to suggest that the Bible permits homosexual acts. And if homosexual acts are forbidden in Scripture, and marriage defined as the union of a man and woman, then it follows that Scripture forbids same-sex marriage, although there is no verse that says “you shall not allow a man to marry another man.”

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Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    Who gives a fuck what the bible has to say about anything? It is completely, 100% inappropriate and irrelevant to questions of public policy.

  2. Well, I was asked to explain why I oppose gay marriage. So the answer to your question would be, “I do.”

  3. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For those who are uncomfortable with this check out our short produced to educate & defuse the controversy. It has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue: http://www.OUTTAKEonline.com

  4. Firstly I’d like to thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts in writing, especially considering the fire you took for stating your view over on the Friendly Atheist site. That said I don’t agree with them in the slightest.

    You are equating marriage to sex for one thing. Obviously you have limited space to write and limited time to write it but sex does not equal marriage and marriage does no equal sex. Sex may well be an important part of a successful relationship like marriage but it is merely one part of it. There are people who go through life with very little sex and some marriages are virtually celibate. There are relationships that are very sexual that do not include marriage at all. I believe that you would say that these sorts of relationships are not using sex in the best way.

    Biblically speaking the status of marriage is open to some interpretation. Does it always consist of one man and one woman? Are there never instances where a man may have several wives or wives and concubines? The norm in our modern society is one man and one woman but this wasn’t the case thousands of years ago. You are opting for a modern social norm that has changed to fit in with our modern sense of how society should function. Why not extend that idea to other parts of society that aren’t so comfortable for you?

    The biblical condemnation of homosexuality is highly contextual. Consider the type of society that existed at the time. Loose government structures, dictatorial ideologies, illiteracy and a total acceptance of the supernatural over their lives. Their lives would have been free from modern labour saving devices and the need for complex forms of communication. News would have spread by word of mouth and the actions of one element of society that was disapproved of would have been firmly rejected and condemned.

    That doesn’t mean that it is wrong today or even that it was wrong then, just that the condemnation would have been so much stronger as counter arguments and evidence would simply have not been available. The bible also forbids the trimming of beards, wearing clothes of different materials and a whole host of things that have been dismissed as historical foibles. Would you have us return to the world according to Leviticus?

    I suspect you would be strongly inclined to hope for a world that holds the core teachings of Jesus at it’s heart. A message of love and trust for your fellow man, of compassion and acceptance, rather than adherence to a church or governmental hierarchy. Where does homosexuality feature in such a world? Simply as another part of human behaviour that is neither good nor bad.

  5. Siamang says:

    So you’re opposed to gay marriage?

    Great! Don’t have a gay marriage then. If it is against your religion to be gay, then DON’T BE GAY! Problem solved. Next.

    Why should your little sharia laws apply to those of us who aren’t in your religion?

    See, the problem isn’t with you believing what you believe. The problem is that you want to use the government power to force the consequences of what you believe on people who you don’t even know.

    The post isn’t “Why I am personally against getting a gay marriage.” It’s also not “Why I don’t think other people should get gay marriages.” It’s “Why citizens should not have the right to have a gay marriage if they so desire.” As the say in civics class, ‘your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.’ Your right to believe your religion ends when you assert that your beliefs condemn my family to second-class status, and you are willing to rally the mob to enforce your mitzvot by rule of government power.

    Love is the most powerful force in the world. You cannot fight against it. And any religion that fights against love will eventually lose.

    Do you really think that waving your bible around will stop my mother in law from loving her wife and the mother of her child?

    How can you possibly argue in the face of love to say that it doesn’t exist, or worse that it SHOULDN’T exist?

    Jake, you vacated the threads at friendly atheist where I challenged you on this. I expect that you read them. I hope these posts are an attempt at a reply, or at least a rephrasing of your thoughts with more clarity in an environment with less noise. I hope you will read my responses if you haven’t.

    “First, I do not hate homosexuals. ”

    You may feel warm, glowing things in your heart. I can only respond to your actions. You may hum a merry tune, and wear a halo… but you are working to take away the rights of members of my family to BE A FAMILY. How the hell do you THINK we’d see you? Isn’t it time you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and said “gee, how would I feel if someone wanted to split up me and my wife?”

    I look forward to further discussion on the subject. Love will overcome.

  6. Thanks for reading, everybody. I’ll make a couple of brief comments.

    First of all, please remember this is part 1 of 3. I started with the Bible because I’m stating why I am opposed to gay marriage, and I take the Bible as my ultimate standard for all issues. We’ll get to other things in the next couple of days, and you’ll disagree with those too, and we’ll go back and forth some more.

    Second, Siamang, there are some key differences between my views and sharia. The main one is that I don’t think people should be killed for homosexual offenders, or that women who are raped should be punished for it, or that women who have extramarital sex should be raped by all the men of the town council. Those are just a few examples. And that comparison is one of the reasons I left the thread on Friendly Atheist. It shows an unwillingness to engage in civil conversation. The “disagree with me = Taliban” equation won’t get any more response out of me.

    Also, there’s no mob. I get excited if 75 people read my blog on a given day. This is just me saying what I think. I then vote based on what I think, so when I get the chance I’ll vote for people whose actions will reflect my values. You guys will do the same thing, and over time the government will by and large reflect the will of the people. Here I’m explaining my reasons for having the position I have.

  7. Siamang says:

    Isn’t it time you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and said “gee, how would I feel if someone wanted to split up me and my wife?”

    Let me phrase this more directly.

    How would you feel if you feared that a group of people from a rival religion actually have enough political power to force the government to dissolve your marriage, take away custody and visitation rights for your child, take away the ability to make medical decisions for your child, take away your health benefits for your wife and child, etc? How would you feel if members of this religion were actually taking legal steps at this very moment to outlaw your marriage and revoke your marriage license?

    This is what Californians face this November. In November, members of a religious group will put on the ballot a constitutional amendment that if passed, will legally un-marry tens of thousands of people. I think this is unprecedented in the history of America, that the government, in one action, will dissolve tens of thousands of marriages. I don’t think such an mass-dissolution of marriages has happened since the Catholic/Protestant wars of 17th century Europe.

    It’s breathtaking to me that this is what we’re facing…. that religious people are willing to stoop to this level. That these people are willing to literally “go medieval” on thousands of families because they think that God doesn’t agree with their marriage?!!? What millenium IS this anyway?

    So let me put it this way to you. Imagine you are faced with the very real possibility that a religion that you don’t agree with is poised to legally revoke your existing marriage. This is a religion that believes that you should not have the fundamental rights that other people have in the areas of family, children, healthcare benefits… three areas that are fundamentally basic human needs.

    Imagine you meet someone who is arguing to do this to you and your family… but they say “I don’t hate you! I do it out of love!” “I’m just marching into your life and burning your wedding license… because I LOVE YOU!” Well, whatever love that person may be feeling.. it’s entirely internal to him. It’s love only in his own mind. Viewed from a perspective outside him, it is a twisted, controlling sort of love that runs roughshod over people’s actual lives and actual well-being.

    Anyway, this is real. It’s not hypothetical. It’s not some philosophical discussion about what we’d like in a perfect world. It’s real. This is happening in my life and in my family. You go back to your safe life, unthreatened. But I live in my life, with my family. I’m not threatening your family with what you’re threatening mine with: dissolution and relegation to second-class status.

    We’ll fight back, and we will win. Because love is more powerful than fear.

  8. I’m going to add something. Scripture (as that is where you are coming from) prohibits male homosexual acts only. There is a very brief mention of lesbianism (Romans 1:26) but no prohibition. Do your views on homosexuality therefore begin and end with male homosexuality? Why?

    There is no mention in the Bible of transgendered people. Indeed it was not possible to alter a person’s sex through surgery and chemistry when men wrote the Bible. Where do the transgendered factor into your opinions on marriage?

    There are people who are born with both male and female characteristics. These hermaphrodites are often assigned a gender by their parents or doctors and receive hormone treatments, surgery and counselling to help them to adjust to their differences. Should they be allowed to marry at all?

    Furthermore, the bible prohibits a great many things, as I alluded to earlier with my talk of beards and mixed fabrics, are you suggesting that all of these prohibitions should be addressed in law for all citizens? Why?

    The bible specifically calls for the death penalty for homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13). Are you supportive of this stance or not? Why?

    What I’m trying to say is that you seem to be saying that the bible says this, so it must be right. Your views are black and white but reality is not like that, there are far more shades of grey than the choice of doing what the bible says and rejecting it.

  9. Siamang says:

    “Second, Siamang, there are some key differences between my views and sharia. ”

    You sidestepped my question. Let’s take the word sharia out of the sentence and see if you can answer it:

    Why should your RELIGIOUS laws apply to those of us who aren’t in your religion?

  10. Siamang says:

    “And that comparison is one of the reasons I left the thread on Friendly Atheist. It shows an unwillingness to engage in civil conversation.”

    You’re advocating forcibly divorcing members of my family, and telling me to be civil at the same time. I’ll do my best, but know that you come with a sword.

  11. Hoverfrog:

    – In context I would consider Rom 1:26 a prohibition of lesbian sex; it places it in the same category as male. Also, the consistent view of Scripture that sex is for a man and a woman.

    – This is a whole different series of posts, but there are different types of laws in the OT that apply today in different ways. So the ceremonial laws don’t apply in the same way as the moral ones. Also, those laws were for Israel as a political entity as well as a spiritual one, so no, I don’t think the death penalty should apply for most moral violations today.

    – I agree that there are lots of situations where it’s hard to determine exactly how Scripture applies. But homosexual activity is not one of them.

    Siamang:

    – You’ll have to wait for the next few posts to hear some of my non-religious arguments, which you’ll also disagree with. But to respond to your question: My religion also forbids rape. Should a rapist be allowed to say “That’s someone else’s religious law; why should it apply to me?” Your answer is probably that he’s violating someone else’s freedom. But why should someone else’s freedom limit his? If he wants to rape someone and his values don’t forbid it, who are we to tell him to stop? The point is that our gov’t has laws that are based in morality; we’re just disagreeing on what morality we want our laws to reflect.

    – It’s not like for 100 years same-sex couples have been allowed to marry and now we’re all of a sudden changing that. This is an issue in flux, and two opposing camps are vying for control of where the gov’t goes. Each side will probably have victories and losses. Your side had a loss with the CA referendum and then a victory with the recent ruling of the CA Supreme Court. Where you talk about “forcibly divorcing,” I could just as easily talk about the Supreme Court subverting the will of the electorate.

    That’s probably all the time I’ll have today, guys; please don’t take offense if I don’t comment again. Thanks again for reading.

  12. In reference to the Leviticus references– I would imagine that Jake, a Christian, would say that the Bible says that Christ came to fulfill the requirements of the Law set down in Leviticus, etc. So (knowledgeable) Christians wouldn’t use ONLY the Old Testament to argue against homosexuality.
    That being said, I would be interested in knowing what New Testament/Gospel passages you’d use, Jake, to argue against gay marriage/homosexuality.
    Maybe you’re planning to cover this in parts 2 or 3?

    I’m also intrigued by the amount of “love” that is thrown around all over these comments, specifically by Siamang. S/he says love is more powerful than fear, love will overcome, etc. To that I say “How?” HOW is love more powerful than fear? HOW will love overcome??? I know this is a rabbit trail, but it seems awfully cliche-ish to base one’s entire belief system on. I guess I’m looking for some specific strategy for love to conquer the world.

  13. Siamang says:

    To be clearer with my phrasing:

    It’s all well and good, if you’re the one swinging a sword around, to call for civil conversation. I’m the one shouting “HEY HEY!!! Watch out where you’re swinging that sword!” And you’re like “gee, no need to shout like that! Can’t we have a nice, quiet conversation?”

    I’ll do my best. But you’re the one saying that my family shouldn’t even be a family. Civility is tough to manage after that, especially in a country where the religious people may indeed have enough power to harm my family.

  14. You must agree though that the issue of marriage goes beyond the issue of sex. Furthermore the issue of who two (or more) individuals with the ability to decide their own actions want to have sex with is really no business of the government or the church. It simply does not concern them. We don’t have sex police for very good reasons, not least of which is that it is idiotic and futile.

    If sex is not the domain of either the church or the state then how can either attempt to force sexual stereotypes and roles on members of society? The idea is abhorent, almost unfathomable if it weren’t for centuries of established law doing just that. Throw out the petty, predjudictial, sexist crap and keep it out.

  15. Here I am again, after I said I was done.

    Face, if you reread you’ll see I referred to Jesus’ affirmation of the OT law, and also to Paul’s comments on homosexuality in Rom 1. I would also point to 1 Corinthians 6:9, and the general sense in which the NT validates the OT’s moral commandments.

    Siamang, I understand this is a personal issue for you, one you feel very strongly about, and that you are likely to get upset over it, just as I do when I read things like the first comment above. I’m taking that into account, and I appreciate your effort at civility.

  16. Siamang says:

    Jake Hunt said:

    “But why should someone else’s freedom limit his?”

    Because we have no freedom if others can do whatever they will to us by force of power. The very concept of freedom is made moot if we are slaves to the whims of others. If a rapist argues that his freedom allows him to dominate and destroy the freedom of others, he must himself allow to be dominated and destroyed by others. It is a self-defeating position. Anyone who argues the ability to swing his fist recklessly must also allow himself to be punched in the nose as often as anyone can reach it.

    “Where you talk about “forcibly divorcing,” I could just as easily talk about the Supreme Court subverting the will of the electorate.”

    I understand that. I am making the case that what you are trying to do (split up families or relegate them to second-class citizens by force of government power) is worse than a court interpreting a law and finding it unconstitutional — An action that is part and parcel of our constitutional democratic republican form of government. As long as we have a constitution, separation of powers and judicial review, we continue to be a nation governed by laws, not the whims of mob rule. If the electorate has sufficient will to rewrite the constitution, then that’s the law of the land, and I stand by that as the fabric upon which this nation and this state were founded. But if not, I ALSO stand by the law of the land which states that courts decide what is and what isn’t constitutional, until such moment that the constitution is changed. If such a drastic step is indeed taken, I will continue to try to change people’s minds, as I am here. I will continue to make the case that by your actions, loving though you make see them, you do damage to my loved ones. You seek to tear up families and you seem to show zero remorse.

    Face said:

    “To that I say “How?” HOW is love more powerful than fear? HOW will love overcome??? I know this is a rabbit trail, but it seems awfully cliche-ish to base one’s entire belief system on.”

    Who said anything about basing entire belief systems?

    Love will overcome because the ability to nurture is a fundamental requirement of all human life, whereas the ability to destroy is not. In the political battle for hearts and minds in California, gay families will be marching in the streets for their very survival, whereas those fighting against them have no such high stakes or sympathetic position. They are fighting to take rights away from people, and to take away their status as a legal family. We are fighting to save our families. If your family’s survival was at stake, how hard would you fight?

  17. Siamang says:

    “gay families will be marching in the streets for their very survival”… I should have added “their very survival AS legal families”. No need to make my writing more histrionic than it is. I recognize nobody is going to die if they don’t get married.

  18. Siamang says:

    We WIN! Sulu’s getting married!

    Actor George Takei, best known for playing Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek,” says he plans to wed his longtime partner now that the California Supreme Court has overturned a state ban on gay marriage.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24716075/

    Stories like this personalize this issue. I’m super excited about all the weddings going on. I predict lots and lots of June weddings. This truly will be a summer of love!

  19. Siamang says:

    Charlotte, Thanks for the link!

    I was in San Francisco for valentines weekend 2004 to watch my mother in law marry. It was the single best day of my life. It was absolutely thrilling to mill through that crowd… hundreds and thousands of faces of people, and every single one of them was a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a grandmother, a grandfather… having the best day of their life. It was amazing. Love was truly in the eyes of everyone you saw… lots of tears, lots of hugging, lots of people jumping up and down with joy. The scene in the bathroom was amazing… these people had spent the night on the sidewalk in the rain for fear of losing their opportunity to marry. Whole families were camped out on the street all night… no time to go home and spruce up. The bathrooms of city hall were full of people putting on makeup, fixing their hair, changing out of their soggy clothes into something nice… all the while sobbing and laughing at the same time.

    That’s why I say that love wins. I was there… I saw it for myself. I was witness to a day when for one moment all the screwed up world righted itself, and love defeated pompous self-righteous self-appointed speakers for God. Love defeated small-minded political gamesmen. Love defeated those who dared confine it, and restrict it and forbid it.

    For one moment, the world made sense. I was there. I saw it.

  20. vladseventysix says:

    Marriage legally predicates the perpetuation of the human species on mating, heterosexual human relations. Same sex marriage will legally predicate the perpetuation of the human species on matingless human relations. With same sex marriage at best a man and a woman will be married as matingless opposite gender human relations. At worst they will be married as two males performing anal sodomy, matingless “mating”.

  21. Vlad said:

    Marriage legally predicates the perpetuation of the human species on mating

    No, it doesn’t. To assume so is to deny legal marital status to any couple who decides that they do not want or cannot have children. Limiting marriages only for the purpose of procreation is practically medieval.

    With same sex marriage at best a man and a woman will be married as matingless opposite gender human relations.

    Your point being what? That marriage is an archaic institution limiting sexual relationships to those who have then authorised by a third party?

    At worst they will be married as two males performing anal sodomy, matingless “mating”.

    There are a few ridiculous assumption here. You limit your condemnation to two males. What about two females who decide to marry? What about two men who marry but don’t engage in anal sex? What about a heterosexual couple who do engage in anal sex? What about a lesbian couple who enjoy anal sex with toys? If you don’t like the idea of anal sex that’s fine. Don’t have anal sex. No-one is forcing you to.

    Also you should look up sodomy as a word. Anal sodomy is pretty much a pleonasm. I mean, you can’t have non-anal sodomy.

  22. vladseventysix says:

    To hoverfrog: 1. As far as human relations (in objective i.e., physical reality) are concerned the perpetuation of the human species (in objective reality) is predicated on mating, heterosexual human relations (in objective reality). So, am I to conclude the human species has never done anything to ackowledge (in human subjective reality, especially human subjective reality of the law) this supremely important fact? The answer is no, I am not to conclude that and it would be asinine to do so. In the law marriage is a union between a man and a woman, i.e., mating heterosexual human relations. Human beings accurately matching-up human relations in their subjective reality, (especially human subjective reality of the law, marriage), with human relations in objective reality, mating heterosexual human relations, forms the Institution of Marriage, i.e., legally predicates the perpetuation of the human species on mating, heterosexual human relations. This is why when a man a woman get married, (i.e., have the perpetuation of the human species legally predicated on them), they can only be legally married as being mating, heterosexual human relations. With the Institution of Marriage it is impossible for a man and a woman to be legally married as being matingless opposite gender human relations. Any particular mating, heterosexual human relations may or may not perpetuate the human species. Human relations are not perfect. This does not change the fact that whether a man and a woman who are married want to produce children, or not, whether a man and a woman who are married can produce children, or not, is totally irrelevant to the fact that marriage legally predicates the perpetuation of the human species on mating, heterosexual human relations. 2. So, am I to conclude matingless human relations merit legal recognition, but mating heterosexual human relations do not merit legal recognition? Which is what will happen with same sex (i.e., matingless) marriage. That is to say with same sex (i.e., matingless) marriage it will be impossible for a man and a woman to legally be married as being mating heterosexual human relations. With same sex (i.e., matingless) marriage a man and a woman can only legally be married as being matingless opposite gender human relations. The Institution of Marriage can’t include matingless opposite gender relations and the Institution of (same sex) Matingless Marriage can’t include mating heterosexual human relations. Which is why I ask, so, am I to conclude equality like beauty is in the eye of the beholder? 3. A woman can not physically enter another woman with her reproductive organs, but a man can physically enter another man with his reproductive organ via anal sodomy, i.e., matingless “mating”. 4. As far as the definition of sodomy, different dictionaries have slightly different definitions.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Wiser Time no time left now for shame « A Case Against Same-Sex Marriage (1) […]

  2. […] in a series responding to requests that I explain my opposition to same-sex marriage. Read parts 1 and […]

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