Crucial Questions on Same-Sex Marriage

Many same-sex couples believe they represent the new civil rights movement.  I find it interesting that African Americans, the class of people involved in the first civil rights movement, by and large do not seem to share that view.  Blacks voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 8 in California, which means they voted overwhelmingly against gay marriage, in spite of the fact that they voted overwhelmingly for Senator Obama, who spoke against Proposition 8.  The (largely white) gay lobby has attempted to portray itself as a sharer in the experiences of the black community, but the black community apparently has little sympathy for that argument.  The gay lobby is the thirteen-year-old boy attempting to hang out with his sixteen-year-old brother with sixteen-year-old friends.  Thinking he is part of the group, the younger sibling says, “I’m cool.”  And then collectively, the group says, “Um, no.  You’re not.”   

Same-sex couples complain that they are being denied a fundamental human right to marry whomever they want to marry.  The problem with this line of reasoning is that the right to marry whomever you please has never been considered a fundamental right in America, or anywhere else for that matter.  A person has the right to marry according to his or her own decision, but there are certain restrictions on this decision: a man cannot choose to marry his own mother, his sister, the current wife of another man, or a seven-year-old girl.  Of course, we could say that there are obvious reasons for these restrictions, but don’t think there is no one who has ever wanted to enter into these kinds of marital arrangements.  Society used to think the same way about same-sex “marriage”: we used to know instinctively that there were obvious reasons not to allow it, reasons related to biology, the nature of humanity, the collective wisdom of human society, the very nature of the family as an institution, etc.  The only reason gay marriage is now considered a fundamental right, whereas incestuous marriage is not, is because the gay lobby has much more cultural power than the incest lobby.  If we allow one interest group to force an alteration in the institutions of society, we open up the floodgates for every interest group that will follow it seeking any kind of marital arrangement imaginable: polygamy, polyamory, self-marriage, animal marriage, marriage between parents and children (one woman in Britain fought for the right to marry her daughter, not for sexual reasons but because they lived together and she wanted the same legal benefits), etc. 

There are two fundamental questions we must always come back to in this debate, or else we will be lost in a fog of confusion: (1) What is marriage? and (2) Who has the authority to define it?  On the first question, humanity has, until recently, universally affirmed that marriage is heterosexual in nature.  Most societies have also affirmed that it is monogamous, though some have allowed polygamy as one form of marriage.  The gay lobby now presses firmly for the monogamy requirement but drops the heterosexual aspect.  According to same-sex marriage proponents, marriage is simply a union of two people.  So that brings us to the second question: Who has the authority to define marriage?  How one answers that question will depend on one’s worldview, involving the basic presuppositions that a person brings to the table beforehand.

In my own biblical, Christian worldview, I believe God has the authority to define what marriage is.  Not only has he defined it by giving us obvious biological clues, he has also written onto our hearts an instinct toward his design in creation for marriage and family.  This instinct explains the universal commitment to heterosexual marriage across all human societies.  However, knowing how prone we are to sin and to the perversion of the plainest truths of nature, God also revealed his creation pattern in Scripture, the authoritative deposit of divine revelation (Gen 2:24-25).  We have no authority to redefine marriage according to our own whims. 

But what if one approaches this question as a non-Christian?  I still don’t see how same-sex marriage can be justified.  Most non-Christian westerners tend to be Darwinian in their outlook, at least on questions regarding the origin of species.  Darwinism is the primary biological metanarrative in competition with Christianity, the primary contender outside of the Bible as a totalizing explanation of humanity.  I take it that many, probably most, same-sex couples understand life as a continuum and the human species as one in a chain of development.  If this is the case, I can’t fathom how same-sex marriage can fit anywhere in this worldview.  On Darwinian grounds, why should a society allow for same-sex marriage?  Don’t same-sex couples put a barrier in the way of evolutionary progress by engaging in sexual behavior that cannot reproduce and advance the species?  Or, if they do use modern technology to reproduce, don’t same-sex couples compromise the purity of the race by passing on their homosexual genetic material (if there is such a thing) to future generations, thereby compromising the full reproductive potential of those generations?  On consistent Darwinian grounds, why should homosexuals even have a place in society at all?  (Please note here that I am not making this argument; I am trying to trace out the logical conclusion of the Darwinian position, a position that I believe most same-sex couples would hold to, in an attempt to expose the inconsistency in their worldview and in their practice.) 

Perhaps the gay lobby will argue that society has a right to define marriage.  But if that is the case, then why are they so upset about Proposition 8?  Society has spoken, and it has said “No” repeatedly on this question.  Yet the same-sex couples persist, painting themselves as victims of injustice, implicitly appealing to a transcendent standard beyond the will of society.  Dr. King did the same thing in his day, but his transcendent standard was rooted in a Christian worldview.  In making his case for civil rights, King appealed to a higher, divine justice beyond all human authorities.  Will the gay lobby do the same?  Will it argue that the right to engage in same-sex marriages is an unalienable right given to us by our Creator?  If so, I am curious to know how that argument will be justified; on what basis can the gay lobby claim to know the will of God on this matter?  It is certainly not on the basis of Scripture.  And if the will of God is not known by Scripture, how can it be known?  An argument based on what one group thinks God is like won’t cut it. 

Basically, it all boils down to this: same-sex couples rest their victimhood on the fact that their personal ethical standard has not been adopted by society as a whole.  Make no mistake about it: traditionalists are not the ones trying to impose their own notions of morality on society.  By pushing against the will of the people for never-before-granted “rights,” the homosexual lobby is the one doing that.  This is a far cry from the civil rights movement.

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2 Responses to “Crucial Questions on Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. lunartalks Says:

    “An argument based on what one group thinks God is like won’t cut it. ”

    Nor does an argument based on what one peson thinks Darwin thinks. I’ve read all his books, many of his letters and diaries and he has nothing to say on this subject.

    And there os no such thing as a Darwinian position. There is the scientific field of evolutionary biology which Darwin founded.

  2. fenderpooh Says:

    But surely there is a naturalistic worldview that could appropriately be labelled “Darwinian” because of its adherence to Darwin’s theory of evolution as the explanation for the origin of species.

    I’m not pretending to know what Darwin thought about homosexuality. I don’t know if the subject ever crossed his mind. But I do know that the theory of evolution requires that the fittest survive by reproducing, and I know that reproduction is not a natural by-product of homosexual relations. Therefore, I infer that from a Darwinian standpoint, homosexuality must cut against the progress of evolution.

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