Gay Marriage: What’s the Big Deal?
North Carolina voters, by the wide margin of 61-39, made their state the latest to “outlaw” gay marriage. Of NC’s 100 counties, the amendment passed in 93. Where the issue has been given to voters, every state has affirmed the traditional definition of marriage. 31 of them now.
Right on the heels of the NC vote, President Obama became the first president in American history to openly support the rights of homosexuals to marry. He signed no bill, but his verbal affirmation was a huge symbolic (and PR) win for advocates.
So what’s the big deal about gay marriage?
Barney Frank once asked, “How will my same-sex marriage harm YOUR marriage?” A fair question, and one that deserves some answers.
But first, may I request some ground rules in this “fight over same-sex marriage?”
- Can we dial down the venom and volume a notch or two? Can we passionately disagree without assuming the worst about each other? I will choose to assume that LGBT-rights advocates do NOT want to morally vaporize America, or throw Neanderthals like me into re-edugaytion camps. In return, could you not assume that those of us who oppose gay marriage are haters and bigots who would bludgeon gays if nobody was watching?
- I won’t demand that you blindly follow my God, my Bible, or my views on sexuality. You won’t demand that I abandon those beliefs or silence myself about them.
- Neither of us will lie or fudge the science/psychology numbers.
- The Bible encourages “speaking the truth in love.” Surely, we can all embrace at least THAT. Surely we can defend our opinion ABOUT truth, and still do so in a spirit of love.
So, what’s the big deal about gay marriage, and why do I oppose it?
Morality: The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. Those who say otherwise are either distorting the words of scripture, or believing someone else who has done so. I understand that we don’t live in a theocracy, and that ours is an increasingly secularized America. What I’m not sure others acknowledge is that EVERY law is tied to morality. Unavoidably so. To fight for the rights and dignity and equality of every individual is ITSELF a moral proposition. We cannot get away from legislating SOMEBODY’s morality.
Precedent: Is the root of the argument, “Why can’t any American adult be afforded the same right to marry as any other?” If so, we shouldn’t discriminate against the polygamist who wants 6 wives/husbands. Or the lady who wants to marry her own brother. In fact why can’t an entire family reunion all inter-marry each other in a tangled nuptial web? Or are we just carving out room for ONE politically powerful group to redefine marriage?
Societal good: Once marriage no longer means marriage, what then? To deconstruct and redefine marriage (and, inescapably, gender too) is to strip some things of their inherent dignity. Those things include masculinity, femininity, fatherhood, motherhood. No matter a person’s religious or moral views, we must agree that history and biology enshrine the family unit as the key for cultural survival.
Unintended (or intended) Consequences: I personally do not believe same-sex marriage is about “marriage equality.” I think it is about forced normalization. I could be wrong. But I believe the big push is toward requiring – by force of law and lawsuits – all of us to call homosexuality normal. In NJ, a lesbian couple filed a discrimination complaint against a Methodist facility because they were denied permission to hold their commitment ceremony there. And won. The Salvation Army in San Francisco lost a $3.5 million contract for providing services to the poor because it refused to provide domestic-partner benefits. Chai Feldblum, EEOC Commissioner, said this about any conflict between religious liberty and gay rights: “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
The Bible, biology, common sense, and thousands of years of civilization unanimously oppose the notion of homosexual “marriage.” I believe that in a free America homosexuals have the right to be homosexual. And the right to own a home in my neighborhood. And a right not be be harassed or victimized. And a right to designate whomever they choose as heirs, hospital visitors, co-signers, etc.
But nobody has the right to tell me what I must believe or accept.