Thoughts on Gay Marriage

Pink on the cover of the AdvocatePink has a rather provocative quote in the latest issue of the gay and lesbian magazine, The Advocate, about gay marriage:

“If you’re a celebrity and you want to marry your sweetheart for 55 hours, go right ahead. If you’re J. Lo and you want to marry 18 people for six days each, go right on ahead! But if you want to marry your soul mate and make a life of it — and you just so happen to be the same sex — then no, how dare you! We’d rather you just buy gasoline and support our war and continue to consume and fear in our country so we can make money off you. But do us a favor: Don’t hold hands in public.”

I doubt anyone wants to revisit the gay marriage debate, but I found Pink’s comment intriguing. Regardless of your feelings on gay marriage, she makes a point about how as a society we trash marriage.

Celebrities and people in general have been abusing marriage for years, and no one puts up much of a fuss until homosexuals want to get married — and most of them are more committed than J-Lo or Britney. Maybe instead of (or in addition to) a gay marriage ammendment we should be considering a ‘respect marriage’ ammendment (or simply legislation), something that encourages, supports, and protects committed, loving marriages.

The Respect Marriage law could make pre-marital counseling a requirement for every marriage, make public dollars available for marriage counseling, and make divorce a harder proposition — possibly a fine for breaking marriage vows, or something less draconian like intense support and counseling for those considering divorce. A law like that could go a lot of strange ways, but I think if there were enough well-thought out and well-executed “carrot on a stick” measures (as opposed to just plain stick measures) to encourage marital faithfulness, maybe it would help make a dent in the 50% divorce rate.

While I certainly value marriage, I have to wonder what some people are fighting so hard to protect. Marriage is a broken institution in this country, and if you’re concerned about marriage it seems like gay marriage is the least of your worries. You have to draw the line somewhere, but how about the people trashing marriage, not the people eager to get married?

12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Gay Marriage”

  1. Not making much of a fuss? I’ve been hearing Christians, therapists and others bemoaning the degredation of marriage in our culture my whole life. Is it not much of a fuss because no one has tried to make an amendment?

    Perhaps it’s partially because it’s been going on so long, and so slowly and steadily. People have gotten “used” to it, and they want to nip the new idea on the block right in the bud.

    At any rate, I don’t think the problem of marriage in America is something no one has noticed or made a fuss about. I think people are just flocking to what they see as an easier issue, just as abortion is more black and white for people than other social justice issues.

    I have a student who’s writing an argumentative paper stating that couple’s need to get marital counseling before they get married to help improve marriage in the US. I’m interested to see what they come up with.

  2. You’re right Neal, there has been a lot of whining about marriage. But how much action has there been? Has there been a legislative movement to reinforce marriage? Has there been any kind of constructive movement to do something about the 50% divorce rate? If there is, I haven’t heard of it.

    I think it’s kind of sad that we put our foot down and do something about gay marriage while we just whined and complained and let things slide when marriage became a mockery. It’s a kind of half-assed, late-to-the-game approach I’ve seen before. Not the best way to be salt and light.

  3. Hmmm… I used to hold strong opinions on the legislation of ‘Gay marriage’ but I’ve kind of come to this conclusion: let them do what they want.

    If two consenting adults (same sex or not) want to ‘get married,’ join in a ‘civil union,’ or get ‘divorced,’ that’s their thing. The government shouldn’t make a stink.

    It’s not a ‘marriage’ in God’s eyes and that’s all that matters in the end.

    I guess what I’m really saying is “laws don’t change behavior, Jesus does.” So lets spend more time and money evangelizing and less time legislating.

  4. In his Breakpoint commentary yesterday, Chuck Colson lamented the fact that more Christians are not speaking up to their elected politicians in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Colson again made the argument for limiting marriage to heterosexual couples because “it’s one of only three institutions established by God and recognized by all societies for millennia.” He warns that if we fail to support the Federal Marriage Amendment because it’s “insensitive or intolerant” then we’ve fallen for a lie, and “God’s judgment can’t be far behind.”

    All this rhetoric really bugs me. Of course the Federal Marriage Amendment is insensitive and intolerant! The problem with marriage in this country isn’t the homosexuals who *want* to be married. The problem is the heterosexuals who don’t care enough about marriage to stay married. For all the lofty talk about the “sanctity of marriage,” is anybody really buying that anymore? It’s been thoroughly trampled — not by the gays, but by the straights!

    Try to legislate morality if you want to, but do it in a way that doesn’t discriminate between homo and hetero. Maybe then we’ll actually start influencing people to value marriage again. If homosexuals were better married people than heterosexuals, maybe that’d get the straight community to wake up and smell the coffee. We may not actually have the corner on morality anymore! Can you imagine that?

  5. I don’t think anyone respects J.Lo or any of the celebrities on their 9-millionth marriage. I have a relative who has been married 6 times and she is (silently) considered one of the black sheep of the family because of it. I’m just saying that I don’t think people respect this.

    I don’t always know where God draws the line on issues and He will judge all of us when the day comes according to what is in our hearts. It is because I don’t always know the answers that I choose to go on the conservative side of things, it’s a bit safer. For example, if I’m not sure whether or not God allows homosexual marriage, I just avoid it altogether and stick to things that I know he approves of. It makes life easier for me and probably a lot less painful. This also means that I don’t support homosexual marriage because I see it as a gray area…but I don’t think God sees it as a gray area.

    As for the whole “not legislating morality” argument, I don’t buy it. No matter what you legislate, it is going along with someone’s code of what is “right” or “fair” or “just” or “moral.” Why is my view of morality any less valid than anyone else’s? Why should I knock the tried and true morality of the Bible for some new “human rights” morality? We need to look far into the future to see how our choices today are going to help or hurt our society.

  6. Well, I’m not thinking too hard right now after my test, but I’m not going to stop talking about the sanctity of marriage just because a lot of people are getting divorced. If you ask me, the divorce problems have arisen from people A) not talking about the sanctity of marriage, and B) not talking about how to preserve marriages.

    Also, I fail to see how hetero marriage problems means we can’t be against homosexual marriage, and I also find it interesting that Pink and others are so confident that homosexual unions with “soul mates” will last longer than hetero ones. The same thing is infecting our culture for both groups, so try to be a tad realistic, mkay?

  7. A couple of my friends and I were debating this a little bit. He had some very insightful comments on this issue, as well as a link to a very good article on it. Here they are:

    “I’ve often wondered if we can win the gay marriage debate, because it is so rhetorically powerful for them to compare the ‘right to gay marriage’ to the past issues of slavery and civil rights. But now I’m beginning to think that people see through that slick talk. One thing does seem to be the case, though: If we rest our public case against gay marriage on the Bible, I don’t think that we’ll win. The reason is that the world is just not competent to understand and interpret the Bible regarding complex issues like this. They will forever be tripped up by the slavery issue, the ‘Hey, Leviticus also forbids wearing a garment with two types of fabric’ issue, and other such issues.

    Hence, I think that we need to make significant use of arguments that do not depend upon the Bible. The other OpEx piece did a decent job of outlining a decent approach. But J. Budzisevksi does the best job that I’ve seen: http://boundless.org/regulars/office_hours/a0000865.html. Basically, the State does not involve itself in marriage simply because it wants to enable people to ‘declare their love for one another.’ That is *completely irrelevant* to the issue of why the State should sanction heterosexual marriage. Instead, the State sanctions heterosexual marriage because it has a compelling interest in the outcome–namely, children. It is through heterosexual marriage that society is propagated and enabled to continue. Therefore, the State has an interest in strengthening the (heterosexual) marriage institution through official sanction and legal benefits. Such is not the case with *homosexual* ‘marriage,’ because children are not produced through it (key word: _produced_). Bud does a good job of answer the objections people raise to this, like how homosexual couples can adopt.”

  8. I’ll read that article right now MT, but that’s the argument I’ve heard a lot of non-Christian conservatives use (and a few other ones), and it’s a lot better, as it doesn’t bring in yet another hot topic to the fray. One is more than enough. Two is murder.

  9. Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. If you’re going to comment on my blog, I don’t know if I can allow you to link to an article written by an author and published by an organization whose worldviews are fundamentally opposed to mine. ;-) However…

    I’m going to allow that.

    I think dialogue is important, another fundamental difference between me and Focus on the Family. Notice all the comments they have.

    And completely unrelated and jerkish of me to bring up, but could anyone have a more annoying writing style than Budziszewski? Look at me and my creative Socratic dialogue! It’s hard to find something more pretentious. (OK, thanks for letting me get that off my chest)

  10. Oh, was I supposed to actually respond to Budziszewski’s article? Oops.

    What gets me the most is the way he brushes off all arguments and powers straight ahead.

    1) He claims government endorses and protects heterosexual marriage because families, through procreation, further society. While that’s certainly true, I have a hard time writing off the rest of society. I think families are valuable for more than procreation, and limiting their benefits to making babies for the sake of an argument is kind of silly. Family arrangements, even without kids, can be especially beneficial in society. I’m talking about the most basic things like companionship, friendship, happiness. Even more basic is simple community, getting along. The government often supports people working together because it almost always benefits the common good (the car pool lane). I think marriage is sanctioned by the government for more reasons than simply procreation, and Budaslkasdfkajiejfafski is oversimplifying the argument.

    2) I love how he glosses over homosexual parents and rules them out by claiming that a mom and dad are the best case scenario. OK, assuming I buy that (I do, but many people won’t), what happens with all the less than best case scenarios, which in case you haven’t noticed are the majority of cases (with a 50% divorce rate I think it’s safe to assume that a majority of kids don’t live with a mom & dad)? And what about all the kids without any parents? If a homosexual couple wants to adopt and give an orphaned child two dads, I say that’s better than no parents. Maybe it’s not as good as a mom and a dad, but it’s better than nothing. And that ‘better than nothing’ isn’t supporting society? That’s not worth protecting and encouraging? Homosexual couples can contribute to society in a much-needed avenue (adoption), and I don’t think you can just gloss over that.

  11. Another thought on the whole idea of government supporting marriage because it advances society through procreation: I think that’s old hat. Procreation happens in today’s society well outside the bounds of marriage, and people move on.

    I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it happens. Look at Friends. Not a single child was born on that show as a natural birth to a happily married husband and wife.

    If government wants to support marriages because they’re prime ways to develop kids, that’s great. But modern society is having a tough time with marriage, and is frankly giving up on it. Perhaps government needs to find a better way to encourage marriage than tax cuts, or possibly find a different way to encourage procreation and furthering society.

    I’m not saying it’s a Christian solution, just a practical one.

  12. For those archive scourers out there, I think this link is very pertinent to this discussion. It’s an organization with a goal of raising respect for marriage and raising understanding of how marriage is supposed to work so that anyone’s marriage can become stronger (whether it’s a current reality or a future one). I just heard about it this evening on TV. Check out Marriage Savers.

    Their site kinda sucks, but their beliefs are really good and their info is really good. They just need some help on the presentation. I think they’re on the right track. This is the stuff that really needs to be happening.

    Maybe I should offer to redesign their site… :-)

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