Many people, especially the youth, seem to be very frustrated with the Church, other Christians, and all others who seem to be “traditional to a fault” by not allowing gays to marry. From their point of view, it seems like there would be nothing to lose by allowing others to do what they want, what they say would make them happy. And we’ve seen examples of same sex relationships working out and even responsibly raising adopted children, which gives their argument some weight. So how could somebody have the opinion that they could forbid someone else from doing what they think makes them happy? I’ll attempt to explain.
Are there situations where we should tell others that they can’t do something?
Yes, of course there are legitimate examples of this. Many children on Halloween night know that they will be really happy if they eat all of their candy all at once, for example. Despite how happy it might make them, their parents often don’t allow them to do this because it would make their stomach feel bad the next day and it isn’t healthy. Another example, think of drunk driving this time: by not allowing others to do what they might want, we help improve the safety for everyone else as well as the potential drunk drivers themselves. So as we can see, there are situations where we can responsibly not allow others to do what they want because even though it might make them happy, it still isn’t the best for them or for others.
What is the purpose of the law?
If same sex marriage were to be legalized, it would be done as a law. So what is the point of a law? Laws are meant to recognize the true nature of life. The basis of a good law is not what society thinks but rather what the truth is. For example, people have a right to not be enslaved not because the government grants it but because it is a part of their identity as human beings.
What is marriage?
It is absolutely essential to understand what marriage is before we can decide whether or not same sex couples could possibly be married. The word marriage is derived from the Latin marītāre, meaning to provide with a husband or wife. With that in mind, by definition marriage has complementarily of the sexes in mind. Marriage has always been the fundamental building block of society consisting of a man and a woman who join together for life, open to children and striving to help each other to the best of their abilities. And is this only a societal construction? Of course not, marriage has been necessary for the continuation of our species, producing the next generation. It would not be possible for a society without a strong emphasis on the importance of marriage to last.
So what’s wrong with same sex marriage?
With the tried and true norm of marriage defined above, we come to see that you can’t possibly justify same sex marriage by appealing to the ways of nature, because it clearly violates them. When you look at the bodies of the male and female, they do not make sense on their own. Children only come from the union of a man and a woman. That’s just nature. Something else to chew on: same sex couple’s can’t have sex. Society might call other courses of intercourse sex, but there’s only one way of intercourse which can lead to children and it requires both a man and a woman. Marriage is both unitive and open to procreation, but a same sex attempt at marriage fails in both categories.
So why can’t they just have a civil union and not call it marriage?
This would undermine the natural order of human life. People are born male or female, and that isn’t discriminating, it’s reality. Even without calling it a marriage, an endorsement of same sex partnerships would potentially place children in situations where they would be missing either a father or a mother (see next point). It would also decrease the value of traditional marriage and make it in society’s eyes only something that the government “allows” you to have. If you’re Christian (or basically of any faith that traces itself to Abraham), it would be encouraging people to sin, as almost every faith defines homosexual actions as sinful. Many people claim that we must allow civil unions for the sake of legal rights and social support, but those should be given to all people.
How does same sex marriage hurt children?
In every situation, same sex marriage denies a child either a mother or a father. This is the same issue that children have in single parent homes. The more research is done, the more we see how important it is for children to grow up with their natural father and mother. That is the way that they came into existence and is the way that nature intended them to be brought up. Furthermore, there are many benefits to having both a mother and a father while growing up, especially in the realm of self esteem. Check out the importance of fathers that I wrote about using data from none other than the US Dept. of Health and Human Services here.
How does same sex marriage hurt society?
Humanity is rooted in marriage. Without sex, there would be no more children. The best parents for children are their natural mother and father, so encouraging marriage leads to a better raised next generation, which is necessary for a stable society. Look at China or Japan for extreme examples of how a large population difference between generations can cripple individuals and society as a whole: especially social security. Traditional marriage leads to increased life expectancies and other psychological benefits for the couple. Governments have had a vested interest in marriage throughout history for many of these reasons. Finally, think about the “slippery slope” argument: if you allow two people of the same sex to be married, what keeps 3 people from getting married, or a child and an adult, or a person and an animal, etc.? Aren’t these wrong? By allowing same sex marriage, we would be opening the door to further reinterpretations of what marriage is.
What did Jesus say?
For those who are Christians or at least respect most of His teachings, we can look to see what He taught us about marriage. In Matthew 19, He uses the words of Genesis to reaffirm that marriage is between a man and a woman, saying that there should not be divorce or remarriage. He also notes that some people are incapable of marriage because they were born so. That is interesting to note because people tend to think that they deserve to be married, no matter what, but marriage is actually a sacrificial gift of oneself for their spouse, and because of this, it makes sense that some people do not have the maturity to responsibly enter into a marriage. Again, not only in Christianity but in most other religions, homosexuality is considered a sin.
How is this not discrimination?
Speaking as a Catholic, we believe in the inherent dignity of each and every human being. We believe that everyone must be treated with respect, kindness, and love. This includes everyone who identifies as LBGT or anything else.
The issue comes up that nowadays society is under a number of different impressions (incomplete list): 1. Sex is the meaning of life. 2. People can’t be happy without sex. 3. You should be able to have sex whenever you want with whoever you want. Quick answers: 1. Sex doesn’t last forever. What happens when you die? 2. I’m a virgin (and a college aged male at that) and you might have to take my word for it if you don’t know me but I’m happier than most. Want more proof that you can be happy (scratch that, overwhelmingly joyful) without sex? Go talk to a religious sister or priest. 3. There’s these things called STD’s, and condoms fail 15% of the time.
Discrimination is not allowing someone to do something based on something they can’t control. But marriage is only possible for a male and a female couple, so it isn’t discriminating any more than not “allowing” your dog to go to school.
I would like to conclude by emphasizing that the goal of this post is not to be hurtful but to bring the truth to light in a clearer manner. There are many people who surely will not find this proof sound enough and so I would only ask that they be respectful, hopefully they learned a little more of the reason behind the other side. I love all people regardless of their sexual orientation (as Jesus calls us all to do, love people hate sin), and only seek to make the truth more clear and help people see the other side of this loaded issue.
Two Steps from Reasonable About Marriage – Public Discourse
So-Called Marriage – J. Budziszewski