Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Some random thoughts on gay marriage

Gay marriage is a big issue nowadays, so I wanted to throw out some thoughts. Let me know your opinion.

First of all, I want to say I do not hate gay people and I am not afraid of them (i.e. not homophobic). I think gay people are people with struggles, just like everyone else. We are all called to a high standard of sexual morality. Some people struggle with same-sex attraction, others struggle with fornication, or adultery, or masturbation. We are all called to a higher standard.

But the issue of gay marriage doesn't really have a huge lot to do with homosexuality itself. Let's first of all break down what the homosexual marriage debate is all about. It is about the state recognizing the love or feelings of two people of the same gender and officially declaring this to be a marriage. You can oppose gay marriage without having any ill feelings toward gay people. That is not a logical contradiction. Even Elton John doesn't believe in gay marriage and he's gay.

The issue is whether or not the state should or has any need to recognize the union of two gay people.

The state (i.e. a country, or separate geographic law-entity) is very pragmatic, at least in places like the USA or Canada. Whatever the state recognizes or doesn't recognize has to do with the benefits of this recognition on the state. For example, there are laws against drunk driving. Not because the state has a moral qualm about alcohol, but because you could put people's lives at risk, perhaps including your own. Also, it is not a crime, per se, to cheat on your spouse. It is also not a crime to be proud, lustful, full of anger, jealous, envious, lazy, or anything else. The state simply has no interest in these interior personal feelings, unless they affect the state. The state also has no interest in your feelings toward someone. A man could be totally in love with a woman and want to have children with her, but the state would not automatically recognize this as anything, until they got married. Similarly, the state would not recognize my hatred toward someone, unless my hatred incited violence. The state is not in the business of ratifying or recognizing feelings, no matter how strong, between two people.

On the other hand, if a man and woman willingly and with full consent decide to marry with the intention of remaining together, the state would recognize this marriage even if there was no love. In fact, even if the couple detested each other, the state would still recognize the relationship as a marriage.

The point is there is another reason the state recognizes marriage and it is because of the perceived benefit of the marriage, especially in terms of children that are born in that relationship. States throughout the world came to understand that marriage is beneficial to children. A woman who got pregnant but had no man to help her was at risk. For the benefit of the mother and any children born, there was a committed before a family was started. Psychologists now agree that a child does best with a mother and a father. Children have a natural law right to be raised by their mother and father. Therefore, marriage is good for society, because a child is raised in the optimal environment.

Other benefits of heterosexual marriage is that a man and a woman offer the benefit of complementarity, which cannot be found in same-sex couples. It has been shown that homosexual couples often are involved in more violent relationships as well as more promiscuous ones.

Strong families means strong communities means strong societies. The family is the building block of society and if it is strengthened, the entire society is strengthend. Doesn't it just seem natural for a mother and father to raise their own child? Does it not seem unnatural for two people of the same sex, only one of whom can possibly be a parent, raise a child?

Civil law is interested in the well-being of its citizens. A child does best in his own family. Also, strong families create a strong society. In the past, romantic feelings had little to do with marriage. It was not seen as essential. That's because the state has no interest in peoples' feelings as such.

Some object to what I'm saying by pointing out that many children are homeless and that isn't it better to give them a gay home rather than no home? First of all, it is important to seek an ideal. The ideal situation is for a child to be raised by his mother and father. Sometimes this ideal cannot be achieved, such as the case with single parenthood, or in the case of an orphan, but that does not remove the ideal. By legally recognizing gay marriage, we force adoption agencies to adopt children to gay couples. We can no longer recognize that a stable man-woman marriage is the best place to raise a child. We must now turn a blind eye to the best alternative to the ideal in the name of "justice". The state must have programs to help children in their situation, and we must not look at next best possibilities for anyone, and we certainly shouldn't artificially put unsatisfactory solutions on par with satisfactory ones.

People have made the gay marriage issue an issue of rights, but is has nothing to do with this. The state does not recognize feelings. It creates an environment that is the best for its people. If a couple wanted a divorce, the main concern of the court would be the welfare of the children. They have little interest in the feelings of the spouses toward each other.

If this was an issue of rights, we would have a different set of issues to look at. If marriage was based on feelings, then we would have to allow other types of marriages. This argument is usually laughed at by gay-marriage proponents, but let's logical look at this. If marriage has nothing to do with the ability to procreate or about childrens' rights, or about the benefits to society, then there are many types of marriages that would have to be allowed. One is polygamy. What reason could a proponent of gay marriage give for the ban on polygamy, assuming all parties agreed to that arrangement and they wanted to be married? There would be no case. What if two siblings wanted to marry? They could not be refused based on the gay marriage logic because the welfare of any possible children would not be a factor, only feelings would. I will not compare gay marriage to bestiality as some have, because this is an unfair comparison. We can only speak of human-human relationships.

There are many other things that can be said about this topic. I think what has been said will suffice. I would like to clarify one point however. Some people who defend same-sex marriage say that if we legalize it, churches will be forced to perform these marriages. I do not agree with this statement given our current situation. I will use my own Catholic Church as an example. The Catholic Church only allows marriages that comply with her teachings. For example, if two Buddhists demanded to be married by a priest, the Church could refuse, and the law would back up the Church. The Church has the right to allow or disallow any marriage it sees fit. Therefore, unless the law radically changes and a new era of Christian persecution begins, I do not see this happening.

I welcome feedback on my thoughts. Please try to be civil and stay on topic. Thanks.


  1. Another topic about Gay Marriage? We get what you are saying, Phil. You don't believe in Gay Marriage and believe it goes against God and all that. Great news for you, if your churches don't want to marry homosexual couples the courts can do it instead.

  2. I am a homosexual, and my same-sex attraction is not a struggle. All your argument is based on that - that somehow homosexuality is something to overcome. My sexuality is a gift from God, not something to be ashamed. I may have struggled with it at a young age, but the struggle was never with who I was, rather, my struggle has always been with a society who believes that my love is less holy in the eyes of God. I now know that that is not true, and that God would have no problem in marrying two people who love each other regardless of their sexual orientation.
    As for civil marriage, the State does not ask an opposite-sex couple who wish to marry if the plan to have children. Indeed couples can marry and have no children, or they can have children without marrying. And reputable studies have shown that children do just as well when they are raised by same-sex couples as they do when they are raised by opposite-sex couples. So, the State really does not have any compelling reason to deny marriage to same-sex couples. Certainly not the fear of having to allow other types of marriage such as polygamy, since we, as a society, can't deny a right to a group of citizen for fear of an hypothetical future claim by another group of citizens.

  3. What evidence do you have that God would be happy to have two people of same sex marry?

    My arguments are not based on homosexuality being a cross to bear. Although I believe it is, that is not the crux of my argument. What I am saying is that the state has no vested interest in marrying two people of the same sex, and that the primary responsibility of the state is to seek after the welfare of its people, including children. I do not think gay marriage serves to protect children, therefore I do not believe the state should sanction gay marriage. Heterosexual marriage creates strong societies, therefore the state has an interest in sanctioning this.

    I didn't say the state cannot make laws for same sex marriage because of fear of other laws which would emerge. Rather, I said if the state allows same sex marriage, there would be no LOGICAL reason why other forms of "marriage" could not exist, such as a brother and sister, or a man and three wives, or a father and daughter.

    1. wait...hold up...if you're talking about evidence, first tell me what evidence you have that God even exists. And the bible doesn't count as evidence. Nothing? Correct, there's no objective evidence...

  4. I think you're dead on Phil! I'm not sure exactly how I stumbled across your blog, but I think I'll start following it. We need more people who will speak Christ's truth unashamedly.

  5. Thanks a lot Angela. I look forward to having you as a reader. Thanks for following!

  6. Phil,

    I accept that we're coming from vastly different philosophical starting points, but I'm amazed that you view children as the central referent for marriage. As Fernando pointed out, the state doesn't ask heterosexual couples if they're planning to have children. There is no ban on infertile heterosexual couples getting married. A childless married couple is allowed to stay married. To put it simply, state-sanctioned marriage is *not* primarily about children. If it were, there would be something in the marriage laws of the country about it (to my knowledge, no country has such a law).

    Polygamy, incest etc. should be looked at in exactly the same way as same-sex marriage. Personally, I think there is demonstrable harm in the state sanctioning these relationships (which is a topic for another day). At the end of the day, I can't see any demonstrable harm in allowing same-sex marriage - and thus I can see no justification for restricting people's freedom.

    Out of curiosity, Phil, would you be in favour of same-sex couples having the same rights as heterosexual couples if it wasn't called 'marriage'?

  7. now phil i grew up without a mother sure it was hard but i have never found another person so close and loved by there family as i am. i am perfectly normal i go to school have friends and live with my dad im loving life..
    now please tell me what goes so wrong with kids that are brought up in a non nutrual family or raised by two gay people. what exactly makes them different and worse of than other children?

  8. p.s you are an idiot that need to shut the fuck up you faggot