The potential effects of gay marriage on the culture’s view of marriage. For the entirety of our country’s history, marriage has been understood as the union of one man and one woman, which is why advocates of gay marriage are having to fight to change this historical definition. I’m under no illusion that if gay marriage becomes legal, my marriage will be in danger-Melissa and I will both be as heterosexual as ever. But I have concerns about what will happen to the cultural view of marriage if gay marriage is legalized. I don’t want it to be assumed in our culture that there’s no difference between the legal, emotional and physical union of two men or two women and that of a man and a woman. To be sure, some would consider that a step in the right direction. That’s where questions about morality and absolute standards would come into play.
A common argument in Christian circles is that legalizing gay marriage will cause a downward spiral in terms of how marriage is viewed, that the number of marriages will drop, that the expectations of monogamy in marriage will suffer, etc. I’m not sure that legalizing gay marriage would cause such a trend, because I believe we’re already in it. But I think the legalization of gay marriage would be one more step in that trend, and that we should be seeking to move in the opposite direction. Again, many people would disagree with me here because of different ideas about what marriage and morality should look like. That’s where, again, things will come down to worldview issues, ultimate standards, and the like.
Possible logical conclusions. For all of our legal history in this country, marriage has been interpreted as the union of a man with a woman. So it’s not only gay marriage that’s been outside the bounds, but also polygamy, incestuous marriages, and the like. If two men or two women are allowed to marry each other, should a brother and sister be allowed to marry? What if a group of five people wanted to all be married to each other? Or a 30-year-old and a 10-year-old? Or what if a man wanted to marry his dog, or his motorcycle? It seems to me that you could make some of the same arguments for these arrangements that are made for gay marriage: Who are we to deny two people who love each other from making it official? If the objection were raised that with gay marriage we’re talking about “consenting adults”, we’d have to ask, why do they have to be consenting adults? What’s the basis of that rule? In short, I believe that opening marriage to same-sex couples will lower the bar for what marriage is, and what commitments are involved. And I think that’s a bad thing.