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Section 13B... Social Issues/
Homosexuality

 

003white  Section 13B... Contemporary Social Issues       >        Index To Homosexuality       >        Same Sex Marriage? 

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"I Now Pronounce You Man and Husband?": An Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage

by Jason Dulle

Please Note: Each coloured link within the article will lead you to a related topic on a different page of this site. However while the text is part of the original article, the links are not. The author of this article may or may not agree with the views expressed on those pages, or necessarily anything else on this site..

Also See The Marriage Amendment: No Rights Are Being Taken Away [Below]

 

The Issue
The issue of same-sex marriage [1] is difficult because in the past we have relied on a commonsense, intuitive understanding about marriage. Everyone simply knew what marriage was and what it was for. Because of the nature of intuitions (underived concepts, not conclusions based on preceding reason) it can be difficult to defend their truth against those who assert something to the contrary. On the issue of same-sex marriage, then, we must work extra hard to argue for the definition of marriage as that union between a man and a woman only.[2]


Our Argument
The commonsense understanding of marriage has been that it begins a family, and a family entails the idea of procreation. Marriage, then, is not a term that applies to any relationship between human beings, but only particular kinds of relationships: those that at least in principle can help form families, the foundation of society. That is why governments have gone out of their way to promote (not invent) marriage. As valuable as other relationships may be, they do not need the same sort of social support because they do not function in the same way the family functions in society.[3]

What we have happening today, however, is homosexuals wanting their relationships recognized by the State as equal to married couples even though their relationship does not serve the same purpose that the heterosexual marriage relationships serve. The question we must ask, then, is If the relationships are not equal, upon what grounds must we treat them as such?

To say homosexual relationships are not equal to heterosexual relationships is to make a qualitative distinction between the relationships, not a judgment concerning the value of homosexuals' humanity. The two types of relationships are simply different in both nature and function. Heterosexual relationships are based on procreation, whereas homosexual relationships are not. Heterosexuals can procreate, thus perpetuating society, but homosexual relationships cannot (at least not naturally). Relationships that initiate families are different from any other type of relationship and should be treated as such. Marriage is a natural institution. There are clear and natural reasons for it, which is why society at large has sought to protect and perpetuate it.


Marriage is Something in Particular
I have just argued that marriage is something in particular. Homosexual activists argue that marriage is a construct of the State that can be defined in any manner the State chooses. They say marriage is about the public union of two people who wish to affirm their love and commitment to one another in a public, official manner. What's interesting is the limitation of this definition. Where does the idea of two come from? Why not three or four? And where do we get the idea that love is the foundation of marriage? Who decided that? Nowhere in the history of the world has love been the basis of marriage. What happened to procreation as the basis of, and reason for marriage?

If marriage is a construct of the State, and the basis of marriage is love and commitment, then there is no principled reason to prohibit group or incestual marriages. [4] Clearly this is not being argued by the State. They still want marriage to mean something in particular, but they want to define what that particular something is.

To demonstrate the insensibility of sanctioning same-sex unions as "marriage" consider the following point made by Francis Beckwith: Just because you can eat an ashtray doesn't make it food. Food is not determined by what you put in your mouth, but by the nature of the substance itself, and the types of things the body is designed to consume and use. Just because two homosexuals pledge the vows of marriage does not make it a marriage. Marriage is something in particular. Homosexuality is not congruent with the nature and purpose of marriage, and therefore we should not call same-sex relationships "marriage," nor give homosexuals the same rights/benefits we give to heterosexual unions. [5]


Heterosexual Privileges and Children
Why is it that all cultures have approved of marriage as a male/female relationship--and only this relationship--while ignoring all other forms of relationships? Why has this relationship been privileged by all societies in a way that is now being considered inappropriate favoritism? Why is it that society has laws concerning marriage in the first place?

Justice Cordy, in his dissenting comments to the Massachusetts Supreme Court's ruling on Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003), made some valuable remarks regarding the purpose of civil marriage:

Paramount among its many important functions, the institution of marriage has systematically provided for the regulation of heterosexual behavior, brought order to the resulting procreation, and ensured a stable family structure in which children will be reared, educated, and socialized. … The institution of marriage provides the important legal and normative link between heterosexual intercourse and procreation on the one hand and family responsibilities on the other. The partners in a marriage are expected to engage in exclusive sexual relations, with children the probable result and paternity presumed. … The marital family is also the foremost setting for the education and socialization of children. Children learn about the world and their place in it primarily from those who raise them, and those children eventually grow up to exert some influence, great or small, positive or negative, on society. The institution of marriage encourages parents to remain committed to each other and to their children as they grow, thereby encouraging a stable venue for the education and socialization of children.

Civil marriage is the product of society's critical need to manage procreation as the inevitable consequence of intercourse between members of the opposite sex. Procreation has always been at the root of marriage and the reasons for its existence as a social institution. (available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

Justice Cordy made it clear that there is only one reason the government has promoted and protected marriage: they produce the next generation of society. Apart from a concern for children the government has no reason to regulate private relationships. If there are no children involved, there is no reason for the government to regulate and protect the relationship (which is why the government does not regulate friendships).

What compelling reason, then, would the government have for regulating same-sex relationships? Based on the government's purpose for sanctioning civil marriage, frankly there is none. Homosexual relationships have nothing to do with the purpose for which civil marriage is enacted; therefore, homosexual relationships are not entitled to the benefits of marriage. While both homosexuals and heterosexuals can make the same personal commitments to each other, they are not entitled to receive the same social privileges because homosexual relationships are different from heterosexual relationships in this defining area. Homosexual relationships only benefit homosexuals, whereas heterosexual relationships benefit society at large because they create and nurture the next generation of society. That is why government has always sought to promote and protect heterosexual relationships of the sexual kind, but not homosexual relationships of the sexual kind.

Once it is becomes clear that the government sanctions marriage with special protections and privileges because of its desire for the creation, nurture, and protection of children, it could be argued that homosexual couples who are raising children together should be allowed to marry. While this conclusion appears logical it ignores the crucial fact that the two homosexuals seeking the union are not responsible for bringing the child into existence. That required a male-female relationship. As David Orland noted, "Homosexual 'families' of whatever type are always and necessarily parasitic on heterosexual ones" ("The Deceit of Gay Marriage," http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/www.boundless.org/2000/features/a0000307). So the argument that homosexuals should qualify for the same benefits afforded to heterosexual couples if they can come up with the same "package" the government is interested in protecting fails on the grounds that this "package" can only be obtained in an artificial, unnatural way. [6]

At this point it could be counter-argued that while same-sex couples cannot themselves create children (the first interest of the State) they can be responsible for nurturing them (the second interest of the State), and thus the State should offer them legal benefits for doing so--not for the sake of the same-sex couple, but for the sake of the child. This is a valid argument, but it is limited in application. It would not argue for same-sex marriage in general, but only those cases in which a homosexual couple is raising a child together. This situation is clearly not the norm. [7]

Furthermore, the government has not, and indeed will not sanction every sort of non-traditional relationship that decides to rear children. Justice Sosman made this point clear in her dissenting remarks to the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health:

Reduced to its essence, the court's opinion concludes that, because same-sex couples are now raising children, and withholding the benefits of civil marriage from their union makes it harder for them to raise those children, the State must therefore provide the benefits of civil marriage to same-sex couples just as it does to opposite-sex couples. Of course, many people are raising children outside the confines of traditional marriage, and, by definition, those children are being deprived of the various benefits that would flow if they were being raised in a household with married parents. That does not mean that the Legislature must accord the full benefits of marital status on every household raising children. … People are of course at liberty to raise their children in various family structures, as long as they are not literally harming their children by doing so. … That does not mean that the State is required to provide identical forms of encouragement, endorsement, and support to all of the infinite variety of household structures that a free society permits. (available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf,)

The government does not give legal sanction and benefits to single individuals, non-married heterosexual couples, nor polygamous groups who happen to be raising children, so why must it do so for same-sex couples who obtain and raise children? On what basis is the government justified in giving legal and social benefits/approval for same-sex relationships because they happen to be raising children, while simultaneously denying the same benefits/approval to other non-traditional individuals/groups who are doing the same? What is the basis for such discrimination? The reason is clear: society does not want to give social approval to those alternative relationships because they do not believe they are good for society, nor good for optimal child-rearing.

One final argument can be made against offering same-sex couples legal and social benefits/approval simply because they happen to be raising children: same-sex couples who choose to procure and raise children do so in violation of natural law. Natural law argues against the idea of homosexuals even raising children.[8]The natural order of things only provides children to mothers and fathers, not mothers and mothers or fathers and fathers. It seems most reasonable and natural, then, that a child is raised by the individuals who created him/her. The natural state of things may just indicate that children not only need a mom and dad to come into existence in the first place, but also to be nurtured properly. Common sense and experience tells us that moms and dads have unique perspectives to offer a child, both of which are necessary for a healthy and balanced self-being. Based on natural law it should never be the case that homosexuals are raising children, and thus there is no principled reason that the State should endorse that sort of living arrangement by putting the greatest seal of social approval on the adult relationship: marriage.


Marriage is Recognized by Society, Not Defined by Society
Marriage is a particular something, not an "arbitrary anything." Marriage is not defined by society, but rather recognized by society. This point cannot be made any better than with the words of Greg Koukl:

    It is not culture that constructs marriages or the families that marriages begin. Rather, it is the other way around: Marriage and family construct culture. As the building blocks of civilization, families are logically prior to society as the parts are prior to the whole. Bricks aren't the result of the building because the building is made up of bricks. You must have the first before you can get the second.

Societies are large groups of families. Since families are constituent of culture, cultures cannot define them. They merely observe their parts…and acknowledge what they have discovered. Society then enacts laws not to create marriage and families according to arbitrary convention, but to protect that which already exists, being essential to the whole.

Why has civilization always characterized families as a union of men and women? Because men and women are the natural source of the children that allow civilized culture to persist. This is the only understanding that makes sense of the definition, structure, legitimacy, identity, and government entitlements of marriage. This alone answers our question, "What is marriage?" Marriage begins a family. Families are the building blocks of culture. Families--and therefore marriages--are logically prior to culture. [9]

Marriage is not an institution constructed by culture; culture is constructed by the institution of marriage. Culture merely recognizes its foundation and seeks to protect it. [10]


What About…

Equal Protection
The courts are treating the same-sex marriage issue as an issue of equal protection, but it is clear that our current marriage laws have not violated anyone's equal protection. Homosexuals have the same right every other U.S. citizen has: they have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. They choose not to afford themselves of this right, however. [11] The real issue is not equal protection, but additional rights. Homosexuals have the same rights heterosexuals have, but they want more. That being the case we need to ask ourselves upon what basis should such rights be afforded them?

The government does not afford me the right to marry my cousin, a child, my sister, two women, a woman who is already married, or my dog. That is disappointing news to the incestuous, the pedophile, the polygamous, and the bestialitist. But what if I love them? Isn't it discrimination to say I cannot marry my sister? Yes, it is discrimination, but it is appropriate discrimination based on the nature and purpose of marriage itself. [12] Marriage is not anything we want to make it, but something in particular. Marriage is not defined by society, but recognized by society for what it is. Homosexuals have the same opportunity for marriage that every other citizen in this country has. What they want are additional rights, not equal rights. They desire someone of the same sex, rather than the opposite sex. "There is no legal inequality, only an inequality of desire, but that is not the State's concern." [13]

Greg Koukl summed up the deficiency of the "inequality" argument when he said, "The basic rule of justice is that equals should be treated equally. To claim injustice, then, is to claim equality of the parties concerned. … It [homosexuality] should only be given equal status if it is, in fact, equal. This is the heart of the issue: the equality of homosexual relationships with heterosexual relationships." [14]

The issue is not the equal worth of the human beings involved, but the equality of relationships being entered into. If heterosexual and homosexual relationships differ in some relevant way, then they do not need to be treated as equal.


Freedom and Marriage
The same-sex marriage issue is not about freedom or personal liberty either. We know this because marriage is not about freedom and liberty. The State's recognition of a couple's union is not necessary for them to have such a union. Friendships and cohabiters are not recognized by the State, and yet these are valid relationships people are free to engage in. Why should homosexuals be given preferential treatment simply because theirs is a sexual relationship? [15]

Marriage is about society putting their stamp of approval on a particular type of relationship.[16]  Homosexuals are demanding the right to marry, not because their freedom to have loving, committed relationships with someone of the same sex is being denied them, but because they are seeking approval, respect, and social acceptance. [17]  For us to deny them the right to marry someone of the same sex is not to deny them freedom, but social approval. "Legalizing homosexual marriage will not give homosexuals a new liberty. It will give them a new social standing." [18] Justice Cordy said that "this … is not about government intrusions into matters of personal liberty. It is not about the rights of same-sex couples to choose to live together, or to be intimate with each other, or to adopt and raise children together. It is about whether the State must endorse and support their choices by changing the institution of civil marriage to make its benefits, obligations, and responsibilities applicable to them." (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health [2003], available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

Homosexuals have the freedom to love another person of the same sex and commit to that individual for life in a loving relationship. No one is prohibiting them from doing so. There are even ceremonies available for such commitments. What the State has done is refuse to recognize and sanction this sort of relationship as equal to heterosexual marriage. They have not granted homosexual couples the same social approval and legal benefits/protections afforded heterosexual couples. There is nothing wrong with that. The State does not recognize all relationships as equal. Not all relationships are given social approval and special protection by the government (such as friendships)--only those that are foundational to the health and welfare of society.

At this point some will cry out "Discrimination!" I agree. It is discrimination. What's wrong with that? There are times in which discrimination is appropriate (such as discriminating between poison and medicine when looking for something to cure your headache). Discrimination is justified when it is just and appropriate to the data/circumstances. Discriminating in favor of heterosexual relationships and against homosexual relationships is justified if it can be shown that the two relationships differ in some relevant way. Such a difference can be demonstrated. Homosexual relationships are different in both nature and function in society, and as such should be treated differently by society. Just because homosexuals can chew an ashtray does not mean that ashtrays must be added to the menus of American restaurants!

Granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples will bring them no new freedom, and denying them such licenses "does not restrict any liberty." [19] The only thing homosexual couples currently lack that a marriage license will bring them is respect and a sense of legitimacy in the eyes of society. Andrew Sullivan made this very point in his 1995 book, Virtually Normal:

Gay marriage is not a radical step. It is a profoundly humanizing, traditionalizing step. It is the first step in any resolution of the homosexual question--more important than any other institution, since it is the most central institution to the nature of the problem, which is to say, the emotional and sexual bond between one human being and another. If nothing else were done at all, and gay marriage were legalized, ninety percent of the political work necessary to achieve gay and lesbian equality would have been achieved. It is ultimately the only reform that truly matters.


Love and Marriage
Some will disagree with what we have determined is the purpose of marriage. They say marriage is about love, not procreation. But marriage is not about love. How do we know this? We know this because there are many people who love one another and yet choose not to marry, some who are married but do not love each other, and some who cannot marry in spite of their love for one another. We also know this because the State never seeks to confirm that a couple is in love before issuing them a marriage license. They are not interested in their love, but in their procreative partnership. [20] They intuitively understand that marriage is not about love. Homosexual theologian, Richard E. Long, admits that the secular purpose of marriage is not love, even though he argues that the purpose of marriage is love. He wrote:

Society, it seems to me, has no real stake in making sure that people who marry in fact marry out of love. It might prefer that a married couple who might procreate love one another because a household in which the spouses love one another is probably healthier for children than one in which the spouses have bound together for any number of other reasons. However, society does not insist that couples love one another in order to obtain a marriage license. Certainly, it insists on no evidence thereof-even if we might try to conceive what such evidence might be. Nevertheless, in our culture, most people do marry out of love. Whatever society's interest in marriage, individuals tend to opt for marriage in search of certain kinds of emotional satisfaction. [Ronald E. Long, "In Support of Same-Sex Marriage" Philosophia Christi 7 (2005): 29-39; available from http://homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/same-sex.pdf; Internet; accessed 22 August 2005.]

Marriage is about families, and families are about children. Same-sex marriage is inconsistent with the purpose of marriage, and that is why homosexual unions should not be given the same recognition as heterosexual unions. Love outside of the procreative context may be good, but that alone is not deserving of society's concern; children are society's concern, and children come from heterosexual, not homosexual unions.

C.S. Lewis made a point in reference to the relationship of love and marriage when he said, "The idea that 'being in love' is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made." [21] While Lewis' point concerned heterosexual couples who were already married, it is equally applicable to unmarrieds, both heterosexual and homosexual alike. The grounds of marriage is not love. That may be an emotionally compelling reason to get married, but that is not its purpose. There is another reason we enter the social contract of marriage: for the production of, and stabilization of the family unit--the building block of society. If marriage is fundamentally about love marriage
would not be necessary, because marriage does not produce love, nor does it secure it. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of divorced couples in our society!


Conclusion
Same-sex marriage is not about liberty, but the demand of homosexuals that society approve of their lifestyle. "The courts and legislatures are being pressed into service for one purpose: to force society, through the institution of legal marriage, to accord the same respect and acceptance to homosexual unions that heterosexual unions now enjoy. It would force the rest of us to treat as equal those relationships we know aren't equal." [22]To accomplish this end homosexual activists are willing to threaten the very foundation of society, rob children of moms and dads, argue that marriage is nothing in particular, and that parents are nothing in particular. As Maggie Gallagher noted,

the problem with endorsing gay marriage is not that it would allow a handful of people to choose alternative family forms, but that it would require society at large to gut marriage of its central presumptions about family in order to accommodate a few adults' desires.

 Same-sex marriage would enshrine in law a public judgment that the desire of adults for families of choice outweighs the need of children for mothers and fathers. It would give sanction and approval to the creation of a motherless or fatherless family as a deliberately chosen "good."

 To make a marriage, what you need is a husband and a wife. Redefining marriage so that it suits gays and lesbians would require fundamentally changing our legal, public, and social conception of what marriage is in ways that threaten its core public purposes.

Maggie Gallagher, "What Marriage Is For;" available from http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/939pxiqa.asp?pg=2; Internet, accessed 23 December 2003.)

Only the uninformed or the foolish could believe same-sex marriage would not have an impact on society! No appeal to religion or morality is necessary to argue that same-sex couples are not entitled to the benefits of marriage. The argument is defensible purely on the grounds of social policy; based on the very purpose of civil marriage.


Objections
O: The fight for same-sex marriage is like the fight for civil rights some 40 years ago.

A: "The debate about same-sex marriage is not about whether homosexuals, as human beings, are equal with other human beings, as was the case with Rosa Parks. It's about whether homosexuality is equal with heterosexuality, and therefore should receive equal legal status and equal social respect." [23]Same-sex marriage is no more an issue of civil rights than it is an issue of civil rights to deny a man the right to a hysterectomy. [24] By nature men do not qualify for hysterectomies, and homosexuals do not qualify for marriage.

A similar objection compares the prohibition of same-sex marriage to the anti-miscegenation laws (laws prohibiting interracial marriage) that were overturned in Loving v. Virginia (1967). Maggie Gallagher offered a pointed rebuttal to this objection:

The Supreme Court overturned anti-miscegenation laws because they frustrated the core purpose of marriage in order to sustain a racist legal order. Marriage laws, by contrast, were not invented to express animus toward homosexuals or anyone else. Their purpose is not negative, but positive: They uphold an institution that developed, over thousands of years, in thousands of cultures, to help direct the erotic desires of men and women into a relatively narrow but indispensably fruitful channel. We need men and women to marry and make babies for our society to survive. We have no similar public stake in any other family form--in the union of same-sex couples or the singleness of single moms. (Maggie Gallagher, "What Marriage Is For;" available from http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/939pxiqa.asp?pg=2; Internet, accessed 23 December 2003. Originally appeared under the title "Children Need Mothers and Fathers" in the August 4, 2003 issue, Vol. 8, Issue 45, of The Weekly Standard. )

O: How will same-sex marriage affect you? People should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else.

A: People used this same argument for cohabitation back in the 1950s and 60s. The past 50 years have shown just how wrong it was. Cohabitation has proven to be detrimental to the institution of marriage, and hence children. The number of people choosing to forego marriage in favor of cohabitation increased 1000% from 1960 to 1998 (Population Resource Center, http://www.prcdc.org/summaries/changingnation/changingnation.html), currently at 5.5 million people. The percentage of adults who have never married increased from 22% in 1970 to 28% in 2000.

There has been a dramatic increase in children born out of wedlock as well. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in a report entitled "Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States 1940-99," (48 Nat'l Vital Stat. Reps. at 2, October 2000) nonmarital childbirths increased from 3.8% in 1940 to 33% in 1999. One out of three cohabiters are currently raising children.

Marriage is a social institution, not a private institution. As such, changing the definition of marriage will affect society at large. It will affect their conception of the meaning and significance of marriage. If the institution of marriage is weakened in the eyes of society, society itself will be weakened because marriage stands at its foundation.

This argument also ignores the power of ideas. The sanctioning of same-sex marriage is an affirmation that marriage is nothing in particular, but a construct of society that can be changed at will. When marriage is viewed as a changing institution the privileges, benefits, and protections of marriage are all up for grabs.[25]

The sanctioning of same-sex marriage not only transforms our understanding of marriage from that of a static institution to one that is socially determined, but it is also a declaration that marriage can be defined in ways uninformed by children. It is a declaration that marriage and procreation have nothing to do with one another. For the first time in history the function of marriage would no longer be centered around children, but on the adult couple's relationship itself. This is a departure from the rest of human history and is significant indeed. Justice Cordy aptly noted that

as long as marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples who can at least theoretically procreate, society is able to communicate a consistent message to its citizens that marriage is a (normatively) necessary part of their procreative endeavor; that if they are to procreate, then society has endorsed the institution of marriage as the environment for it and for the subsequent rearing of their children; and that benefits are available explicitly to create a supportive and conducive atmosphere for those purposes. If society proceeds similarly to recognize marriages between same-sex couples who cannot procreate, it could be perceived as an abandonment of this claim, and might result in the mistaken view that civil marriage has little to do with procreation: just as the potential of procreation would not be necessary for a marriage to be valid, marriage would not be necessary for optimal procreation and child rearing to occur. (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health [2003], available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

The idea that marriage is not restricted to a man and woman will impact us in another significant way as well. To grant marriage licenses to both homosexual and heterosexual couples alike is an affirmation that the two unions are no different in the eyes of the law. This has consequences for child rearing. "For the first time in the history of civilization a culture will declare that neither mothers nor fathers are essential components of parenthood; neither makes a uniquely valuable contribution. Same-sex marriage will deny children a right to a mother and a father." [26]

We do not have to wonder if same-sex marriage will ultimately have a negative affect on traditional marriage. There has been an ongoing social experiment of this very kind in Scandinavia. The introduction of same-sex marriage in Scandinavia has contributed to the continued decrease of traditional marriage, and an increase in children born out of wedlock (the out-of-wedlock birth rate is the best way to gauge the strength of marriage in a society, because out-of-wedlock birth rates will rise as more couples choose to forego marriage). Cohabitation is becoming the dominant "family" form. Cohabiting parenthood is problematic because cohabiters are known to experience rates of family dissolution 2-3 times higher than married couples. Without stable family units children suffer socially and emotionally, and thus are ill-equipped to function maximally in society.

Approximately 60% of Scandinavian children are now born out of wedlock, most of that figure to cohabiting parents. Approximately half of all births in Norway, Denmark, and Swede, and 2/3 of all births in Iceland are to unmarried parents. The areas in which same-sex partnerships have been embraced with enthusiasm have experienced the greatest decline. Norway's Nordland County-which is particularly accepting of same-sex marriage-has an astonishing 82.27% of first-born children, and nearly 60% of second-born children born out of wedlock (as of 2002). In comparison, in 1990 "only" 40% of second-born children were born out of wedlock. That is an increase of 20%, or a statistical rise of 50% in those choosing to forego marriage before/after the birth of the second child.

The equally liberal county of Nord-Troendelag has an amazing 83.27% of first-born children, and 57.74% of second-born children born out of wedlock (as of 2002). This compares to 38.12% of second-born children who were born out of wedlock in 1990 (See Stanley Kurtz, "Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee;" available from http://www.nationalcoalition.org/public_policy/kurtz_congress.html; Internet, accessed 22 April 2004.). This is an increase of 20%, or a statistical rise of 53% in those choosing to forego marriage before/after the birth of the second child.

Perhaps the most telling indication of the collapse of marriage in Scandinavia is the move away from their traditional practice of entering into marriage before/after the birth of a second child. At the start of the nineties only 31% of Norwegian cohabiting parents had two or more children. In 2001, however, that number had risen to 43%. That is an increase of 39% over a ten year period, indicative that marriage is in severe decline.

These figures are indicative of the fact that the recognition of same-sex partnerships is causally related to the decline of traditional marriage, and has effectively divorced the cultural connection between parenthood and marriage.

To be fair, Scandinavians were already separating parenthood from marriage prior to the same-sex marriage debate, and eventual legalization of same-sex partnerships. In fact, it was this cultural redefinition of marriage that allowed the same-sex marriage debate to come to a head and prevail. "As Danish sociologists Wehner, Kambskard, and Abrahamson describe it, in the wake of the changes of the nineties, 'Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family--neither legally nor normatively. ... What defines and makes the foundation of the Danish family can be said to have moved from marriage to parenthood.' " (quoted by Stanley Kurtz, "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia"; available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf; Internet, accessed 16 September 2004.) But same-sex partnerships have contributed to the further decline of traditional marriage because it locks in and reinforces the message that marriage is not about parenthood. As social anthropologist, Stanley Kurtz, argues, the legalization of same-sex partnerships were both the result of, and the final nail in the coffin for separating marriage from parenthood. This is evidenced by the fact that the out-of-wedlock birth rates finally shot past the 50% mark since the legalization of same-sex partnerships. This is extremely important because new social behaviors meet their most severe cultural resistance as they enter the threshold of majority status. It was not until the legalization of same-sex partnerships that cohabiting parenthood was able to pass this threshold to become the norm for family life in Scandinavia, because the legalization of same-sex partnerships decisively sent the message to all Scandinavians that marriage is not about children.

In July 2004 a group of five Dutch family scholars, concerned about the state of marriage in the Netherlands, issued a letter addressed to the "parliaments…[of] the world who are debating the issue of same-sex marriage." Their warning is so powerful that it deserves duplication here:

    At a time when parliaments around the world are debating the issue of same-sex marriage, as Dutch scholars we would like to draw attention to the state of marriage in The Netherlands. The undersigned represent various academic disciplines in which marriage is an object of study. Through this letter, we would like to express our concerns over recent trends in marriage and family life in our country.

    Until the late 1980's, marriage was a flourishing institution in The Netherlands. The number of marriages was high, the number of divorces was relatively low compared to other Western countries, the number of illegitimate births also low. It seems, however, that legal and social experiments in the 1990's have had an adverse effect on the reputation of man's most important institution.

    Over the past fifteen years, the number of marriages has declined substantially, both in absolute and in relative terms. In 1990, 95,000 marriages were solemnized (6.4 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants); by 2003, this number had dropped to 82,000 (5.1 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants). This same period also witnessed a spectacular rise in the number of illegitimate births--in 1989 one in ten children were born out of wedlock (11 percent), by 2003 that number had risen to almost one in three (31 percent). The number of never-married people grew by more than 850,000, from 6.46 million in 1990 to 7.32 million in 2003. It seems the Dutch increasingly regard marriage as no longer relevant to their own lives or that of their offspring. We fear that this will have serious consequences, especially for the children. There is a broad base of social and legal research which shows that marriage is the best structure for the successful raising of children. A child that grows up out of wedlock has a greater chance of experiencing problems in its psychological development, health, school performance, even the quality of future relationships.

    The question is, of course, what are the root causes of this decay of marriage in our country. In light of the intense debate elsewhere about the pros and cons of legalising gay marriage it must be observed that there is as yet no definitive scientific evidence to suggest the long campaign for the legalisation of same-sex marriage contributed to these harmful trends.

    However, there are good reasons to believe the decline in Dutch marriage may be connected to the successful public campaign for the opening of marriage to same-sex couples in The Netherlands. After all, supporters of same-sex marriage argued forcefully in favour of the (legal and social) separation of marriage from parenting. In parliament, advocates and opponents alike agreed that same-sex marriage would pave the way to greater acceptance of alternative forms of cohabitation.

    In our judgment, it is difficult to imagine that a lengthy, highly visible, and ultimately successful campaign to persuade Dutch citizens that marriage is not connected to parenthood and that marriage and cohabitation are equally valid 'lifestyle choices' has not had serious social consequences. There are undoubtedly other factors which have contributed to the decline of the institution of marriage in our country. Further scientific research is needed to establish the relative importance of all these factors. At the same time, we wish to note that enough evidence of marital decline already exists to raise serious concerns about the wisdom of the efforts to deconstruct marriage in its traditional form.

    Of more immediate importance than the debate about causality is the question what we in our country can do in order to reverse this harmful development. We call upon politicians, academics and opinion leaders to acknowledge the fact that marriage in The Netherlands is now an endangered institution and that the many children born out of wedlock are likely to suffer the consequences of that development. A national debate about how we might strengthen marriage is now clearly in order (all italics mine).

    Signed,

    Prof. M. van Mourik, professor in contract law, Nijmegen University

    Prof. A. Nuytinck, professor in family law, Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Prof. R. Kuiper, professor in philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam J. Van Loon PhD, Lecturer in Social Theory, Nottingham Trent University H. Wels PhD, Lecturer in Social and Political Science, Free University Amsterdam. (available from http://www.marriagedebate.com/mdblog/2004_07_04_mdblog_archive.htm#108930737260708240)

How did it come to this? How is it that marriage has come to be an "endangered institution?" Kurtz offers a logical progression:

    In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for "shotgun weddings." These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we've come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

    "If marriage is only about a relationship between two people, and is not intrinsically connected to parenthood, why shouldn't same-sex couples be allowed to marry? It follows that once marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, that change cannot help but lock in and reinforce the very cultural separation between marriage and parenthood that makes gay marriage conceivable to begin with." (Stanley Kurtz, "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia"; available from http://24.104.4.225/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp; Internet, accessed 16 September 2004.)

British demographer, Kathleen Kiernan, developed a four-stage model by which to gauge a society's movement toward divorcing parenthood from marriage. Stanley Kurtz summarized this model as follows:

    In stage one, cohabitation is seen as a deviant or avant-garde practice, and the vast majority of the population produces children within marriage. … In the second stage, cohabitation serves as a testing period before marriage, and is generally a childless phase. … In stage three, cohabitation becomes increasingly acceptable, and parenting is no longer automatically associated with marriage. In the fourth stage… marriage and cohabitation become practically indistinguishable, with many, perhaps even most, children born and raised outside of marriage. …These stages may vary in duration, yet once a country has reached a stage, return to an earlier phase is unlikely. … Yet once a stage has been reached, earlier phases coexist. (Stanley Kurtz, "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia"; available from http://24.104.4.225/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp; Internet, accessed 16 September 2004.)

Scandinavia had already experienced stages one and two prior to the inception of the same-sex marriage debate, with some Scandinavian countries having entered into the beginning of stage three. The debate over, and legalization of same-sex partnerships, however, pushed them through the upper stages of three and into the beginning of four. The United States is similarly situated. We are currently in stage two where the social climate is ripe for a successful campaign on behalf of same-sex marriage. If legalized, we can be certain that marriage in American will follow the Scandinavian pattern.


O: It is inconsistent to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, but not allow them to participate in the very institution designed to protect children.

A: The answer to this objection can be stated in no better way than that offered by Justice Cordy in his dissenting comments to the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003):

    The fact that the Commonwealth currently allows same-sex couples to adopt … does not affect the rationality of this conclusion. The eligibility of a child for adoption presupposes that at least one of the child's biological parents is unable or unwilling, for some reason, to participate in raising the child. In that sense, society has "lost" the optimal setting in which to raise that child--it is simply not available. In these circumstances, the principal and overriding consideration is the "best interests of the child," considering his or her unique circumstances and the options that are available for that child. The objective is an individualized determination of the best environment for a particular child, where the normative social structure--a home with both the child's biological father and mother--is not an option. That such a focused determination may lead to the approval of a same-sex couple's adoption of a child does not mean that it would be irrational for a legislator, in fashioning statutory laws that cannot make such individualized determinations, to conclude generally that being raised by a same-sex couple has not yet been shown to be the absolute equivalent of being raised by one's married biological parents.

That the State does not preclude different types of families from raising children does not mean that it must view them all as equally optimal and equally deserving of State endorsement and support. For example, single persons are allowed to adopt children, but the fact that the Legislature permits single-parent adoption does not mean that it has endorsed single parenthood as an optimal setting in which to raise children or views it as the equivalent of being raised by both of one's biological parents. The same holds true with respect to same-sex couples--the fact that they may adopt children means only that … they may provide an acceptable setting in which to raise children who cannot be raised by both of their biological parents. The Legislature may rationally permit adoption by same-sex couples yet harbor reservations as to whether parenthood by same-sex couples should be affirmatively encouraged to the same extent as parenthood by the heterosexual couple whose union produced the child. (available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

O: It is the exclusive and permanent commitment of two individuals to one another that is the sine qua non of marriage, not the begetting of children. To say that marriage is about procreation, thereby excluding same-sex partners, is to single out the one unbridgeable difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples and transform it into the essence of marriage. This begs the question.

A: This was the argument offered by Chief Justice Marshall in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003). Justice Cordy countered this argument by noting that

    civil marriage is the product of society's critical need to manage procreation as the inevitable consequence of intercourse between members of the opposite sex. Procreation has always been at the root of marriage and the reasons for its existence as a social institution. Its structure, one man and one woman committed for life, reflects society's judgment as how optimally to manage procreation and the resultant child rearing. … Attempting to divorce procreation from marriage, transforms the form of the structure into its purpose. In doing so, … history [is turned ]on its head. (available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

Marriage has always been about promoting procreation and managing child-rearing. Whatever else marriage might be about, this is the defining quality of marriage. Any attempt to divorce procreation from the essence and purpose of marriage is revisionism at its best, or ignorance at its worst.


O: Divorce, not gays, is the biggest threat to the institution of marriage.

A: While divorce may end a particular marriage, it does not threaten marriage as an institution. Young people still desire to be married, and are marrying; those who get divorced often desire to, and do remarry. (Dennis Prager, "The Divorce-Threatens-Marriage Lie"; available from http://www.townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/dp20050412.shtml; Internet; accessed 12 April 2005)

While we bemoan the high divorce rates, such failures in marriage do not justify redefining what constitutes a marriage. Many parents fail to raise good children, but we don't redefine parenthood as a result. We simply teach people how to be better parents. (Prager)

Even if it were true that divorce is threatening the institution of marriage, how would gays help the institution? What makes us think they would divorce at a rate any less than heterosexuals? Given what we know about the nature of gay relationships there is good reason to believe that homosexual divorce rates would be greater than their heterosexual counterparts. Looking at Scandinavian countries there is good reason to believe that the recognition of same-sex marriage will reduce the number of heterosexual who choose to enter into marriage. People failing to enter into marriage--not divorce--is the real threat to marriage. (Prager)


O: Homosexuality is natural.

A: "Natural" can refer to that which occurs in nature, or the way things are designed to function (teleology). Homosexuality is not natural in either sense of the word.

Concerning the former, homosexual advocates argue that since we see animals engaging in homosexual behavior in the natural world, human homosexual behavior is natural, and hence morally neutral. A few things need to be noted. First, there is no species that practices exclusive homosexual behavior. If there were such a species, it would die out after one generation because it would be unable to reproduce itself! Furthermore, there is no example in nature of same-sex animals engaging in "committed" relationships with each another. Their same-sex encounters are "one night stands." At best we might be able to justify bisexuality from nature because there are animals within a species that may engage in homosexual behavior, but they also engage in heterosexual behavior as well. Regardless, we cannot determine what is right by simply observing what occurs in nature. Nature shows us what happens, not what should happen. To argue that homosexual behavior is morally benign because it occurs in the natural world is to commit the genetic fallacy: trying to obtain an ought (prescribed behavior) from an is (observation).

Concerning the latter, homosexual advocates have no leg to stand on. One's sexual identity is determined by the way they were designed to function sexually. The way we were designed to function is determined by our physical parts. It is clear that male parts are not designed to function sexually with other men, and female parts are not designed to function sexually with other women. Each is designed to function sexually with members of the opposite sex. If your parts are designed to function with someone of the opposite sex, and yet your sexual desires are directed toward those of the same sex something is awry. The desires do not match the hardware. The problem is not with the hardware, but the desires. When one's supposedly "natural" desires to not match up with the body afforded them by nature, shouldn't this clue us into the fact that something is wrong with homosexuality-that it is unnatural?

No matter which definition of "natural" one employs homosexuality cannot be considered natural. Moreover, it is useless to appeal to nature for the issue of same-sex marriage because there is no example in nature of same-sex animals committing to each other in long-term
relationships. [Also See
The Gay Gene]


O: The present laws do not give homosexual partners the same right to visit their partner in the hospital as it does married couples. That is discriminatory.

A: True, homosexual partners cannot visit their loved one in the hospital, but this is not (unjust) discrimination. Only certain types of relationships enjoy that privilege. I cannot visit my best friend in the hospital, even though we have known each other for years and are very close. The type of relationship that enjoys that privilege in the U.S. is reserved exclusively for married couples because of the unique relationship they share, and the value of that relationship for society. Besides, there are ways to legally secure such rights without marriage.


O: Who are you to say who can be in love?

A: Marriage is not about love. Besides, nobody is saying who can and can't be in love. This is not even about telling people what they can do in their private lives. If someone wants to love a person of the same sex in a sexual way that is their choice. The issue of same-sex marriage, however, is about public approval of a particular sort of union.

O: The argument being used by those opposed to same-sex marriage, that society has always defined marriage as between a man and a woman (argument based on tradition) could have been used by the slave owners 100 years ago to keep the institution of slavery alive. Just because something is the traditional view, or the majority are in favor of it does not make it right. Age and numbers do not make something moral. Sometimes the courts do have to intervene, making decisions that are contrary to the will of the people because those decisions are the right thing to do.

A: The question, though, is whether or not this is the morally right thing to do. That must be decided before it can be determined if there is a genuine need for the courts to overturn the will of the people.

Also, when we question or seek to change age-long institutions (especially those that are bed-rocks to society) we need to consider why it has stood for so long. Justice Cording made this point when he said,

    This is not to say that a statute that has no rational basis must nevertheless be upheld as long as it is of ancient origin. However, "[t]he long history of a certain practice ... and its acceptance as an uncontroversial part of our national and State tradition do suggest that [the court] should reflect carefully before striking it down." Colo v. Treasurer & Receiver Gen., 378 Mass. 550, 557 (1979). (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health [2003], available from http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/conlaw/goodridge111803opn.pdf)

Too often we tend to think that "old" and "long-standing" means something is bad, but things that are necessarily bad usually don't stand so long. Great care and careful consideration needs to be taken before changing so fundamental an institution such as marriage.

O: You think that just because the majority of people oppose same-sex marriage that same-sex marriage should not be granted to homosexuals. Do we do politics by a majority vote?

A: Yes, that is how a democracy works: the majority rules. The only time a minority view should take the day is when the majority view is unconstitutional, or violates a higher moral principle. It is clear that the Constitution does not grant the right of marriage to same-sex couples either explicitly or implicitly. It is also clear that the State's recognition of marriage is not a right, but a privilege that can be given or withheld to whomsoever the State so chooses. The State has no moral imperative to recognize and privilege any relationship at all. If there is no moral imperative to begin with, denying the privilege of marriage cannot violate a higher moral law.

Considering the fact that the issue of homosexuality is of a moral concern, the members of society ought to be consulted before the government grants social approval to same-sex couples in their name. This issue needs to be decided by the public, and if the public decides to grant same-sex couples the privilege to marry, so be it. If they decide to withhold that privilege, so be it. Either way the politics of this issue ought to be decided by the people.


O: If the purpose of marriage is to have children, and homosexuals' lack of ability to do so disqualifies them from marriage, then what about those heterosexuals who choose not to have children, or cannot have children? Are they not families?

A: Just because some people cannot or choose not to use the marriage relationship for the purpose that culture privileged it does not mean that heterosexual couples should not be privileged. This is the exception, but society is protecting the relationship that brings about the rule. [27]

A family is what it is even if those who choose to be a family do not, or cannot take advantage of all the benefits and purposes of a family. It's like a hammer. It could hang on the wall without being used, and yet still be what it is. It still exists for the potential of being used in the way it was purposed, even if its purpose is never realized. The natural potential and purpose is there, and thus it accords with natural law. [28] Homosexuals cannot produce children, and it would be unnatural for them to raise children.

The fact that a couple cannot have children does not change the fact that they have the biological possibility of doing so. "The natural tie of marriage to procreation is not nullified because in some individual cases children are not intended or even possible. Marriage still is what it is even if its essential purpose is never actualized. The exceptions prove the rule; they don't nullify it. Marriage is intrinsically about and for children." [29]

Moreover, any biological incapability of a couple is typically not discovered until after the marriage. The government would be unaware of it as well, then, when issuing the marriage license. What the government does know is that heterosexual couples have the potential to create the next generation of society, and thus bless their union together for that end.


O: Marriage has changed over the years. For example, in some cultures polygamy was accepted as valid. In the past women were viewed as a husband's property. If marriage is not a static institution, but takes on different forms in different societies and times, then society can change marriage today as well.

A: Yes, there have been some exceptions to the rule, but there is still a rule that has remained throughout the ages. In polygamous marriages it is still a male-female relationship--there are simply more women involved. The way in which women are viewed in a relationship by their spouse is not a change in marriage (it is still one man and one woman), but a particular view of anth ropology being applied to the marriage contract. Marriage has not undergone a metamorphosis over time in which its present form is radically different from past forms. It is an exaggeration to say that marriage has changed. As Greg Koukl pointed out:

There have been changes [to marriage]. Historically some have been denied marriage (e.g., the young, the genetically aberrant, and interracial couples). Others were allowed to marry more than once, either consecutively (divorce and remarriage), or concurrently (polygamy). Spousal rights have altered and traditions have evolved. But marriage has still been marriage. And spouses have always been male and female. [30]


O: It is not right for you to restrict marriage to a man and a woman.

A: Do you accept group marriages, incestual marriage, marriages with animals, etc? No? Then we are both the kind of people who restrict marriage. The question is whether or not our restrictions are principled or arbitrary in nature.


Summary Argument

I. Marriage is something in particular.

A. Entails idea of procreation (at least principally).

B. Environment to raise children.

C. Those who wish to open marriage up to homosexuals still want marriage to mean something in particular, but they want to define what that particular meaning is. They continue to disqualify groups that meet their own criteria (love, commitment).

D. Marriage is recognized, not defined by society.

II. Government provides social support for marriage because it recognizes marriage's foundational role in society: heterosexual couples both produce and nurture the next generation of society. Apart from its concern for children there is no reason for the government to regulate any private relationships.

III. Homosexuals want the government to give their relationships the same social standing that heterosexual relationships have been accorded, even though homosexual relationships do not have the same function for society.

IV. This is not about equal rights. Homosexuals already have equal rights, but want more rights.

V. This is not about freedom to love and commit, but a new social standing.


Tactics


Tactic #1
Ask, "What is civil marriage?" You want to lead them to the fact that marriage is society's stamp of approval on, and encouragement of particular relationships, because those relationships serve an important social interest. Then ask, "What purpose do same-sex relationships serve society, such that we should give them social support so as to secure their stability?" This leads into tactic #2


Tactic #2
Ask, "What is the purpose of marriage?" This is an important question because the purpose of marriage determines its form (one woman, one man). Use this opportunity to dispel the idea that marriage is about love and commitment, and solidify the fact that marriage is about procreation. Once marriage's purpose is clear, it becomes readily apparent that same-sex couples do not qualify.


Tactic #3
Ask, "Why should society give marriage benefits to same-sex couples?" A common response will be "fairness." This response recognizes that heterosexual couples benefit from the privileges of marriage, and that those same privileges are not being given to same-sex couples. Ask, "What is it about heterosexual relationships that justifies them receiving special benefits not available to other citizens?" The point you want to make is that whatever it is that justifies giving special benefits to heterosexual couples, must also be exhibited by same-sex couples before we are justified in giving them the same preferential treatment. What is it that justifies giving special benefits to heterosexual couples? Is it the government's interest in promoting romantic love? No. It is their ability to create children. Seeing that same-sex couples cannot produce children on their own, it is not unfair to deny them the benefits given to heterosexual couples for their ability to do so.

Another approach would be to ask, "When does fairness apply?" The answer you are trying to lead them to is that fairness is applicable when you have two or more equal parties. Once they grasp that point, ask "Are heterosexual and homosexual relationships equal, or do they differ in some significant way?" Obviously they differ in a big way: heterosexual relationships produce children; same-sex relationships do not. So fairness is not the issue.


Tactic #4
Because many people think same-sex marriage is an issue of equality and freedom ask, "What freedoms or liberties are being limited if we do not allow same-sex couples to marry?" This question is completely disarming, because it is clear that no liberties or freedoms are being limited. The only thing being denied them is social respect, so follow up with the following: "The only thing being denied to same-sex couples is social respect, and we are free to give our respect to those we deem morally worthy of it."


Tactic #5
Point out that if society defines the institution of marriage, society must have good grounds for defining it the way they do. Why, given the new way of viewing and defining marriage, can we prohibit some sorts of relationships from being considered marriage while including others? If love and mutual commitment is the basis of marriage, then there is no reason to disallow every sort of combination of people/things.


Tactic #6
Our argument for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage must begin with marriage's purpose, not its participants. Once we re-establish its purpose, its participants will be clearly evident. This is particularly important because the common justifications for same-sex marriage are centered on a pseudo-understanding of the essence of marriage (love, commitment). If marriage is only about love and commitment, then same-sex couples qualify; however, if marriage is about procreation, then same-sex couples need not apply.

 

Footnotes

1. In the past I have not favored the using "same-sex marriage" to describe the issue at hand because of its origin in political correctness. Politically correct language tends to make the dishonorable seem honorable through the manipulation of language (e.g. adultery = extramarital affair; lying = disingenuous, etc.), and I have no desire to beautify an issue as ugly as this. As a result I preferred the more politically incorrect term "gay marriage." My mind was changed on this issue, however, by radio talk-show host, Dennis Prager. He noted that gays already have the ability to marry; they just can't marry someone of the same sex. The law doesn't care about your sexual preference, but the sex of the person you want to marry. If they are of the same sex as you, you cannot marry. So the real issue is not gay marriage per se, but same-sex marriage.

2. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl's live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on February 15, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

3. Ibid.

4. Some will accuse me of using a slippery slope argument here. I am, but there are two versions of the slippery slope: the fallacious version, the proper version (referred to as a logical slippery slope). I am using the latter. The fallacious version is that which rejects a view based on what it may lead to, even when there is no logical connection between the view itself and its supposed implications. The proper use of the argument follows the reductio ad absurdum argument in isolating the logical principles undergirding the view, and following them to their logical conclusion. If the conclusion is unacceptable, we are forced to reconsider our guiding principles. In this particular case the principles undergirding the argument for same-sex marriage are applicable to other morally relevant situations. The reasoning behind allowing same-sex marriage is that we shouldn't discriminate, and "they love each other." If these are the principles upon which we determine eligibility for marriage, they are applicable to many other sorts of relationships that even most same-sex advocates disapprove of. When we point out that these principles are applicable to any sort of relationship that meets the same criteria, we are not employing a fallacious argument.

5. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl's live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on February 15, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

6. I am specifically thinking of homosexuals who adopt children, or those who conceive a child through the process of in vitro fertilization using a donor-womb (in the case of male homosexuals) or using donor sperm (in the case of female homosexuals). There is third way for homosexuals to obtain children, however, and that is from a previous heterosexual relationship. There is a fairly large segment of the homosexual population who was married and conceived children before entering the gay lifestyle. There is one way, then, in which homosexuals could obtain children in a natural way. This does not invalidate my point, however, because it is not the homosexual couple as a unit that produced this child in a natural way, but rather one of the partners who did so. This partner simply brings the child into a new, unnatural family unit to be nurtured there. This does not constitute a natural means of obtaining children for the homosexual couple, but rather the homosexual individual.

7. Homosexuals typically do not even want to establish households together. Only 29% of homosexuals live with a partner. Of this number, about 20% have children living with them. This means only 8% of the total homosexual population in the U.S. is raising children. See Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D., "Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples"; available from http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02&f=PG03I03; Internet; accessed 07 April 2004.

8. Furthermore, statistics reveal that same-sex unions are less stable than heterosexual marriages. Only 5% of same-sex couples live in a committed relationship for 20 years or more. With such low long-term commitment levels, approximately 9 out of 10 children raised by same-sex couples will experience a "divorce" in their adolescent years. Knowing the detrimental effects divorce has on children, why should we favor same-sex couples raising children? Same-sex couples simply do not provide the stability children need for proper development. See Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D., "Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples"; available from http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02&f=PG03I03; Internet; accessed 07 April 2004.

9. Greg Koukl, "Same-Sex Marriage--Challenges and Responses," Solid Ground May/June 2004, p. 4.

10. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl's live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on May 16, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

11. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl's live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on February 15, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

12. Peter Sprigg, "Questions on Same-Sex Unions Answered: Responding to Andrew Sullivan"; available from http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/www.frc.org; Internet, accessed 04 May 2004.

13. Greg Koukl, "Same-Sex Marriage--Challenges and Responses," Solid Ground May/June 2004, p. 1.

14. Greg Koukl, "When the Bride is a Groom"; available from http://www.str.org/free/solid_ground/SG9903.htm; Internet; accessed 10 February 2001.

15. Greg Koukl, "Same-Sex Marriage--Challenges and Responses," Solid Ground May/June 2004, p. 1.

16. It is for this reason that when a homosexual declares "I have a right to marry even if you don't approve of it" he is stating an oxymoron. He is essentially saying "I have a right to your approval even if you don't approve." Taken from Greg Koukl, "When the Bride is a Groom"; available from http://www.str.org/free/solid_ground/SG9903.htm; Internet; accessed 10 February 2001.

17. Dr. Timothy J. Dailey reported on the differences between same-sex and married couples, based on statistical data from around the world. He presented data demonstrating that most homosexuals choose not to legalize their unions when given the opportunity to do so (only 2-21% choose to do so internationally, compared to 52% of heterosexuals in the U.S. who choose to marry). This further demonstrates that the issue of same-sex marriage is not fueled from a desire to marry, but a desire for social approval. See Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D., "Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples"; available from http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02&f=PG03I03; Internet; accessed 07 April 2004.

18. Greg Koukl, "When the Bride is a Groom"; available from http://www.str.org/free/solid_ground/SG9903.htm; Internet; accessed 10 February 2001.

19. Greg Koukl, "Same-Sex Marriage--Challenges and Responses," Solid Ground May/June 2004, p. 2.

20. J. Budziszewski, "So-Called Marriage"; available from http://www.boundless.org/regulars/office_hours/a0000865.html; Internet, accessed 05 August 2004.

21. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1952), p. 97.

22. Greg Koukl, "When the Bride is a Groom"; available from http://www.str.org/free/solid_ground/SG9903.htm; Internet; accessed 10 February 2001.

23. Ibid.

24. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl on his live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on May 16, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

25.Greg Koukl, in a pastoral letter dated May 1, 2004 accompanying the May/June 2004 issue of Solid Ground on the topic "Same-Sex Marriage-Challenges and Responses."

26. Ibid.

27. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl on his live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on May 16, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

28. Based on the remarks of Greg Koukl's live radio broadcast "Stand to Reason" on February 15, 2004 on KBRT AM 740.

29. Greg Koukl, "Same-Sex Marriage--Challenges and Responses," Solid Ground May/June 2004, p. 3.

30. Ibid.

Homosexual-Bar

The Marriage Amendment: No Rights Are Being Taken Away
Jason Dulle

The new motto against amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman only (thus excluding all other combinations including same-sex) is that "amendments to the Constitution serve to guarantee more rights, not take rights away." I find this motto quite interesting because it is a loaded statement, presuming that homosexuals already have the right to marry, and this right would be revoked from them should the Constitution be amended.

Do homosexuals currently have the right to marry? The answer to this question will determine whether or not the proposed amendment would take rights away. After all, one can't take something away that was never there to begin with.

A good place to start is by asking where rights come from. Rights do not simply materialize out of thin air. Neither do rights exist by a mere claim to their existence. Rights are specific sorts of things that come from a specific source. It seems to me that a right must come from one of two sources: a transcendent source (God), or an immanent source (man/government). [Also See Flat-earth Atheism and the Pledge of Allegiance]

If the right to homosexual marriage has been granted by a transcendent being it would be inalienable by nature. In such a case it would be wrong for man to take that right away through any sort of legislative action. To determine if some god is the source of this supposed right we would have to look to the religions of this world to see if the teachings of their god(s) grant such a right. When we look at the major world religions we do not find the right to same-sex marriage granted. This right, then, if it is a bona fide right, must come from an immanent source.

If human government is the source for homosexuals' right to marriage, to determine whether or not the proposed amendment would be taking rights away from those individuals all we must do is find a current law that grants them the right to marry-a law that would be repealed should the amendment pass. Guess what? There is none. And if there are no current laws granting homosexuals the right to marry, then the marriage amendment to the Constitution would not be taking any rights away. It would merely uphold the laws as they currently stand, leaving them intact. The argument that the marriage amendment would take rights away, then, is unfounded.


Only God Can Supply the "Shoulds"
Having answered the charge that a Constitutional amendment would take away rights what about those who still wish to claim that it is wrong for government to deny homosexuals the right to marriage? Notice the implicit moral claim here. It is being argued that the government should grant the right to homosexuals to marry, and that if they fail to do so it is wrong. Where does this idea of "should" and "wrong" come from? If what is right and wrong on this issue does not find its foundation in some transcendent source, but in the legislation of human government, then there can be no shoulds or wrongs. To make the argument that the government should allow same-sex marriage requires that one believe the right to same-sex marriage transcends what human government may or may not think about the issue. This sort of thinking lands the individual in the camp of theism where universal and absolute rights are possible. As noted previously this does not advance their position because all major theistic systems condemn homosexuality as immoral. To borrow the idea of absolutes from theism to argue for the right to an act that the theistic worldview condemns as immoral makes as much sense as hiring the KKK to promote racial equality!

If the right to homosexual marriage is grounded in an immanent source such as human government the right can be given or taken away at will with no moral significance to either act because rights are mere conventions determined by majority rule or by those in power, not things that have transcendental meaning in and of themselves. Rights begin and end with man.

The right to drive a car is an example of these sorts of alienable rights. The government gives us the right to drive a car and sets guidelines for who can and cannot access this right. At any time they could revoke this right because they have the power to do so, and could not be held culpable for doing something wrong should they do so. The government is under no moral compulsion to grant the right or take it away because the right is not the sort of thing that is fundamental and self-evident, but mere convention that can change with their whims. If homosexual marriage is not a right that can be grounded in a transcendent source then it is grounded in the will of the people, and the people have no moral obligation to give it. If the will of the people is to amend their Constitution to define marriage so as to exclude homosexuals from the institution that is their prerogative

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