Thursday, May 10, 2012
Should Same Sex Marriage Be Made Legal?
Yesterday President Obama announced that he is now supporting same sex marriage after having earlier said that his views on the subject were "evolving." This comes only a day after the voters of North Carolina, with encouragement from the aging Billy Graham, approved a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages in that state. And earlier, on Sunday, Vice-President Joe Biden weighed in on the issue, lending his support for homosexual marriages. Thus the topic of marriage is certain to be a hot issue in the Fall election.
We need to put the issue in perspective. "Gay marriage" is not the beginning of the end. Rather, it is the end of the end, the final epitaph over the grave of the institution we once called "marriage." The very idea of a "gay marriage" would have been inconceivable if we had not already given up on the ideal of a two parent family raising their own biological children.
The theological rationale for marriage is the idea that human sexuality is something that is created by God, and that it has a specific God-ordained purpose. That purpose is to create a permanent bond between a man and woman in which they can procreate and raise children. Anything other than a permanent heterosexual relationship within the bond of marriage, or complete celibacy, is a deviation from the norm and therefore consistently condemned in Scripture. This includes fornication, adultery, divorce, and pornography, as well as the grosser sorts of sexual activity.
But, one might argue, the state has no interest in what God thinks about homosexuality. But, I reply, the state does have an interest in creating a rational social policy, and its current policy, or lack thereof, is frankly suicidal.
The legal rationale for marriage was to provide for a measure of social stability and to assure the proper socialization of our children. But if anyone can get married, and if no one has to get married in order to have a sexual relationship, the social rationale for the legal institution evaporates. Today all we have anymore is a series of transient relationships between persons of various "sexual orientations" engaging in different "alternative life-styles," and leaving a dismal trail of single moms struggling to raise children on their own. "Marriage" is little more than a legal relic, a mere technicality. What would homosexuals gain by the "right" to marry? Very little, it would seem, besides a few survivor's benefits.
But, one might argue, a pair of homosexuals living together in legal matrimony doesn't effect the marriages of heterosexual couples. It simply gives the homosexuals the same legal rights as everyone else.
Granted, it doesn't affect the marriages of heterosexuals who are married now. But what does the heterosexual couple down the street tell their children about "Adam and Steve"? Well, you say, that is simple. They should tell their children that Adam and Steve are perfectly normal and that what they are doing is socially acceptable. But how does that affect the children's concept of sex and marriage? Haven't we just told them that virtually anything that is done sexually between consenting adults is O.K.? How then will they establish stable marriage relationships? You say, they can, if they find the right partners. But the problem from society's standpoint is that given this kind of sexual license, only a relatively small minority will choose practice strict monogamy. The result for the majority will be, and already is, social chaos.
One could adopt a Libertarian argument and insist that each individual should be free to make his/her own life-style choices. But are we willing to take that argument to its logical conclusion and say that the taxpayers have no responsibility to pay for the treatment of STD's , or provide financial support for single parent families? Are we willing to say, "You are free to make your own choices, but you pay for your own mistakes; don't stick the tax-payers with the bill"? But where does that leave the children?
If we intend to make marriage a meaningful concept, then we should impose a penalty for violating it. How many gays would still want to be "married" if the penalty for adultery was a year in prison and a $5,000 fine?