Because God’s design for marriage has been widely scorned and dismissed in our society, it was a relatively small step to cave in to demands for same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage advocates said that anyone who has a committed loving relationship with someone, even if of the same sex, should be allowed to have their relationship recognized as marriage.
It is however important to see that same-sex marriage is totally antithetical and hostile to what God said marriage should be. Same-sex marriage is blatantly against every design of the Almighty for wedlock. It is also completely against what society has almost universally throughout history considered marriage to be.
God said that marriage is for male and female. God designed the two genders in such a way that they complement and complete each other, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Indeed, although the unity of marriage is more than the physical, yet this unity cannot be separated from the sexual and the sexual cannot be separated from procreation. Marriage is where God wanted the begetting of children to take place. Marriage is the place where the father and mother each have a role to play in procreation and nurture. Marriage is where it’s at. That’s where society has its foundation.
However, the same-sex view of marriage could not be more different. Whereas God brought together male and female, same-sex marriage is about two of the same gender coming together. Whereas God instituted marriage to beget children, same-sex advocates say procreation has nothing to do with marriage. Whereas God designed male and female organs so that they are meant for each other, same-sex marriage practices sex that is contrary to the Creator’s design.
Small wonder that God severely condemns homosexual behaviour in his Word. For example, the apostle Paul includes in his list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God also practicing homosexuals (1 Cor 6:9). God condemned homosexual practice to protect the creation ordinance of marriage and the integrity of the family (Lev 18:22; 20:13). All this means that same-sex marriage is in open rebellion against God and his ordinances and therefore it has disastrous consequences for society. Let us consider three such results.
Redefinition of Marriage.
Because same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the gift God gave humankind at the beginning of the history of this world, the implication is that as same-sex marriage becomes accepted by society, we are in danger of ultimately losing the institution of marriage as God ordained it and as we know it. It is as simple as that.[i] It is not true what the gay lobby says: that same-sex marriage is just an addition to what marriage already is. Honest homosexuals acknowledge this to be the case and lesbians and gays admit that same-sex marriage is subversive of marriage as we now know it. The social engineering that is inherent in the same-sex project necessitates the reconfiguring of marriage and creates many new questions. Should any two people who wish to get “married” because they love each other, then not be given the privilege of a marriage relationship? Why then cannot a loving brother and sister marry each other, or a loving father and son? It is of interest that the same-sex issue also seems to have encouraged the promotion of polygamy (more than one wife or husband) and polyamory (an open relationship with as many people in one household as you wish to love). Why should marriage be limited to two people? Why not have an open marriage, a group experience? On what ground would or could you say no to that, if love and commitment to each other is the only basis for marriage? As we lose society’s traditional understanding of marriage and it becomes whatever individuals prefer it to mean, the consequences could be enormous. These will not be immediately apparent but gradually come about. Not surprisingly there are therefore even gays who opposed same-sex marriage because of the potential far-reaching ramifications for the way society orders itself.[ii]
One implication of redefining marriage in accordance with the gay agenda is that a radical individualism will develop. What determines a normal household and what is permitted sexually will all be up to the individual. Everything will go. There will be few norms left for the state to enforce. Because homosexual relationships are generally very tenuous, have more violence, and fall apart very readily,[iii] same-sex marriage will tend to undermine fidelity across the board, also in normal marriages. A society that tolerates all manner of sexual promiscuity is a threat to stable families.
Radical individualism is the opposite of marriage as God designed it. On a purely secular level one can see this.[iv] Marriage is premised on male and female. The strong benefit of marriage is that male and female are designed with profound differences and that these differences are coordinated in marriage so that each contributes what the other lacks. Together they create something larger than themselves. Think of a violin and a bow, the wooden rod with horsehairs stretched from end to end. By themselves a violin or bow cannot do much. Two bows together cannot create music but only mirror each other because they are the same. They don’t complement each other. But together, in their differences, they create something far greater than they can alone. It is much the same with two parts of humanity: male and female. Marriage is the coming together of the two different parts to make a whole. Same-sex unions do make a human whole. They are missing a necessary human ingredient, either male or female.
This is not just a matter of reproduction. The interaction between male and female provides huge and irreplaceable benefits for both because the differences of gender are rooted in every part of our being. Male and female are not interchangeable human parts. They are completely different identities and they normally need each other to be complete. Love and commitment alone do not form a marriage, it requires two different genders. Indeed, we saw in the first article of this series that this is how God designed it. To redefine this relationship is to court disaster, also for society at large.
Part of that disaster is that the redefinition of marriage and the individualism inherent in the phenomenon of same-sex marriage will bring into jeopardy the position of children.
The place of children
It is the little ones who really pay the price. Technically there is no room for them in same-sex marriage. Defenders of same-sex marriage say that marriage has nothing to do with babies or procreation or getting mothers and fathers for children.[v] After all, it is all about doing what you like as adults together. Children get in the road. It’s not because of children that same sex couples get together. Personal pleasure and not raising children is the agenda.
Of course, there are some same-sex couples that want children but naturally cannot produce offspring on their own. So, you have situations where a child is desired and artificial means of conception are used with a sperm or egg from a third party. After all, if traditional marriages have children, why can’t same sex ones have children if they wish? It’s their right as married people.
But, is it fair for a child to be raised in an environment which by nature has nothing to do with procreation? How will that affect such a child? Already there are legal horror stories as courts try to figure out who the parents are in custody battles involving same sex relationships.[vi] Further, a child needs to know its real father and mother. Adopted children often search for their birth parents because of the need to know who they are. But a child growing up in a same-sex context may never know who its biological parents are, and such a child will never have both a father and mother care for it.
Study after study has shown that children need both a father and a mother to get a balanced and proper upbringing and an understanding of its own identity. For example, little boys who grow up in the absence of a father, conclude that being a man means being as unlike a woman as possible and so become aggressive. Children raised outside a traditional marriage are at substantially greater risk for just about every negative outcome that social scientists can measure. They are more likely, for example, to fail at school, suffer physical and mental problems, becomes victims of child abuse, and become juvenile delinquents. Affirming a same-sex lifestyle will also encourage paedophilic activity.[vii] But realize, same-sex marriages are not about providing a safe place for children but about having sexual freedom recognized by society.
Marriage as an institution has been the place where children are to be protected, nurtured, loved and grow up with a clear identity and view of their place in society. That now drastically changes now that same-sex marriage is legally recognized. Children are being de-linked from their biological past and have no more than a shadowy connection with larger kinship groups. Blood, gender, and kinship ties are de-emphasized to the detriment of the child and its identity and its place in society. Most likely the state will end up raising the children of same-sex marriages. Such marriage is no longer generational and genealogical. It will no longer bind together the past and the future.
A third result of same-sex marriage that can be mentioned is the destruction it will create.
The medical consequences of redefining marriage to same-sex are potentially devastating. If society fights alcoholism because of the destruction it causes, it also has a duty to fight homosexual behaviour because of the even worse devastation it generates, both to the persons directly involved and to society as a whole. Studies have shown that homosexuals have a 25 to 30 year decrease in life expectancy compared to the population at large. Gays expose themselves to a whole array of diseases including liver disease – infectious hepatitis, AIDS, rectal cancer as well as a higher rate of suicide and mental illness.[viii] It does not show neighbourly love to ignore such health risks in the lives of fellow citizens.
Furthermore, and more importantly, same-sex marriages will further subject our society to God’s judgment. There is no blessing on this. To the contrary, it brings a curse to society, as one can see not only on the health side of the issue, but also in the weakening of the family and the fabric that holds society together as a whole.
What Should We Do?
What should we, who wish to defend marriage as God ordained it, do in the present situation? The following come to mind.
- We should start at home and show the world what the redeeming work of Christ means for our marriages and families. Our marriages should mirror the love of Christ and his church (cf. Eph 5:21-33). Our marriages and families should be beacons of hope in a dark world so that people ask us the reason for our joy (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). Being a salt in society is an important way to influence it. As Christians we can give struggling homosexuals hope with the gospel. There is no bondage from which the Spirit of our risen Saviour cannot deliver. He is all powerful and he can do it (1 Cor 6:9-11).
- Emphasize to others that we are not defending our pet concepts but God’s design for marriage. He ordained it and to him we should listen. God’s rights always take precedence over imagined human rights! He has spoken clearly in his Word, and his Word gives us the authority to speak up on this.
[i].For this topic and for what follows in this paragraph see Daniel Cere, “Redefining Marriage? A Case for Caution” (Feb 12, 2003), 9-10. Available at http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/pages/issues.htm (search under Cere). Dr. Cere teaches at McGill and the paper referred to here is a revised version of submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. See also Maggie Gallagher “What Marriage is For”, The Weekly Standard vol. 8, issue 45 (1003). Available at www.weeklystandard.com.
[ii].See, e.g., Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson, “Answering Advocates of Gay Marriage” The Australian Family, Issues of July and November 2003, esp. “Claim 20” in the November article. Available at http://www.family.org.au/journal/2003/j20031103.html.
[iii].E.g., in a 1970 survey of 1,000 homosexual in the San Francisco area, it was found that 84% of white and 77% of black homosexual males had 50 or more homosexual partners in their life time. Only 3% of white and 9% of black homosexuals had fewer than 10 homosexual partners during their lifetime. See Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 453. Figures from a 1997 Australian study and 1994 Dutch study are similar. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 455-456. On violence and stability, also see When Two Become One: The Unique Nature and Benefits of Marriage (2nd ed.; Markham, Ont.: Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 2003), 19.
[iv].What follows is based on G. L. Stanton and B. Maier, Marriage on Trial. The Case Against Same-sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2004) 24-25.
[v].This position has even resulted, e.g., in the high court of Vermont explicitly ruling that marriage in the state of Vermont has nothing to do with procreation. See Maggie Gallagher “What Marriage is For”, The Weekly Standard vol. 8, issue 45 (1003) 3. Available at www.weeklystandard.com.
[vi].See, e.g., Chuck Colson, “The Wisdom of Solomon”, Breakpoint with Charles Colson, August 11, 2004; available at http://www.FamilyPart.ON.CA/ (go to library, news, family, “family redefinition hurts children”).
[vii].Maggie Gallagher “Testimony on the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment (H3190)” Massachusetts Statehouse, April 28, 2003, p. 1-2 available at http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/pages/issues.htm. Also, see, e.g., K. D. Pruett, Fatherneed. Why Father Care is As Essential As Mother Care for Your Child (Free Press: New York, 2000). For sexual abuse of children or paedophilia, see Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 479-480.
[viii].See Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 472-473. On mental illness, the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study, reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2001 that “people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.” This underlines the fact that the 1973 decision of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was politically motivated. This was not the result of new research. Peter Sprigg, “Homosexuality: The Threat to the Family and the Attack on Marriage” Family Research Council Issue 99 (Oct 14, 2004). Available at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=PD04F01&v=PRINT
Acknowledgement: This article appeared in Clarion Vol. 54, No. 3, and is reprinted here with the author’s permission. It has been updated slightly, including deleting some recommendations on what we should do, in view of the subsequent legalisation of same-sex marriage in Canada and Australia.