Orthodoxy.com 3 March 2011
Building off of Trevin Wax’s excellent post stating the reasons he’s optimistic about being pro-life, I want to follow in like manner and offer the top ten reasons I’m optimistic about the preservation of natural marriage.
10. The Un-doing of Same-Sex Marriage Law
States, when given the opportunity to repeal same-sex marriage law, have taken the initial steps to do so. In Maine (a traditionally liberal state), voters by popular referendum repealed a same-sex marriage law in 2009. In Iowa, voters removed all three Supreme Court judges on the ballot who issued same-sex marriage by judicial fiat. A constitutional marriage amendment to undo the damage easily passed through the Iowa House, but has been stalled in the Senate to date.
9. The Unpersuasive Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage
Aside from ambiguous appeals to “equality,” proponents cannot articulate how granting same-sex marriage can lead to limiting alternative relationships (polygamy, consanguinity) and sexual expression (bestiality). Worse, proponents of same-sex marriage cannot adequately articulate how enshrining same-sex marriage in law will not conflict with religious liberty and those with moral and religious opposition to homosexuality. Further, proponents fail to offer compelling arguments on how same-sex relationships are anything other than the exception in human relationships and sexuality throughout history. Lastly, proponents of same-sex marriage cannot circumvent the generative component of the married relationship. Mere sexual expression is not, necessarily, deserving of government recognition. Pressed for definition, revisionists lack concrete definitions of marriage other than the locus of one’s relationship being determined by one’s libido.
8. The Persuasive Arguments for Natural Marriage
Self-evident in human existence, natural marriage needs little defense given its own obvious offense: It’s the naturally occurring and historic expression of human covenantal relationship. Serving as the only natural procreative outlet for the production of children, natural marriage serves as an incubator for inculcating the necessary values for each successive generation. Studies indicate that the benefits afforded children raised in a traditional family cannot be duplicated.
7. The Network of Coalitions
Proponents of same-sex marriage often subject their opponents to intimidation and accusations of discrimination and hatred. But with strength in numbers, organizations like the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund, and many others continue to stand as a bulwark against the redefinition of marriage. In addition, numerous church denominations, publishing outlets, and think tanks oppose same-sex marriage.Natural marriage is not without its defenders. The abundance of these organizations present not only the negative case for same-sex marriage, but also the positive case for the necessity and indispensible qualities of natural marriage.
6. The Forcefulness of State’s Rights
In the 30 states that have offered a marriage amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, all 30 states have responded overwhelmingly in the affirmative. Several others states have proposed legislation to amend their own state constitution with marriage amendments. To clarify, nowhere has a popular vote resulted in the affirmation of same-sex marriage.
5. The Black Church
Traditionally an ally of Democratic politics, the black church has offered strong support for traditional marriage. In Maryland, the black church has been particularly vocal in the recent attempts by the legislature to impose same-sex marriage. In being bipartisan and fighting for marriage, the black church is demonstrating that same-sex marriage is not relegated to only certain aspects of culture. Additionally, with the prevalence of fatherless households in the black community, what better demographic can speak to the social pathologies that result from being raised in a motherless or fatherless home. Same-sex marriage, by definition, is either a motherless or fatherless home.
4. Free Speech and Religious Liberty
Constitutionally, a mess is brewing. To date, I can recall no formal compromise that would simultaneously affirm same-sex marriage and religious liberty. Civil unions can exist alongsidereligious liberty, but Christians who object to same-sex marriage will be subject to more difficult and costly repercussions. In this current environment, a tremendous platform to proclaim religious liberty as a subset of first amendments rights exists. By posing our “rights” versus the “rights” of same-sex marriage proponents, the debate could be nullified or made moot. More specifically, religious rights are more clearly enumerated than that of claims to equal protection. Even more troubling, the court ruling in the UK which barred a Christian couple from adopting due to their religious opposition to homosexuality poses a question of unknown precedent. While we’re not the UK, it cannot yet be determined whether religious liberty will yield to gay rights via judicial misfeasance.
3. The Silent Majority
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, a lion was awakened that has since shaped American politics. Aghast at the moral decline around them, The Moral Majority arose to voice the concerns for millions of people. Given the trend in state voting patterns, statistics (not polls) indicate that the strong majority of Americans stand for traditional marriage. As this article at The Public Discourse so brilliantly explained, the polling results of same-sex marriage depend on the polling methods. The majority of Americans support natural marriage, but are intimidated to proclaim it.
2. Tactics Exposed
James Davidson Hunter has stated, “cultural power is the power to name reality.” The same-sex marriage movement has been wildly successful in shaping the cultural narrative. By touting same-sex marriage as unavoidable, proponents have promoted the myth of inevitability. As more and more individuals uncover the media and cultural tactics employed, individuals will be (and are) emboldened not to yield ground on the marriage debate. If we can successfully re-cover the uniqueness of marriage and re-frame the debate, the tumult around the same-sex marriage debate will wither away. If we can also successfully move this debate away from tenuous “rights language” and toward procreative ability, the case for same-sex marriage will be exposed as absurdity.
1. The Permanence of Marriage as God’s Institution
No matter how the debate ends, true marriage will prevail. That is inevitable. If, in time, marriage wanes and fewer marriages occur, the witness of one God-designed marriage will out perform in beauty and purpose anything else seeking to imitate it. For this reason, Christians ought not fear the coming days or years. We don’t need to undermine gay marriage by a glib use of quotations around the phrase. Same-sex marriage does not exist and it never will exist. We simply need to marry, stay married, and proclaim that there is no other institution given to men by which the natural family can exist.
I do feel that I must end this with a call to action: My only forewarning concern is that the (conservative) political and academic atmosphere has done a better job of promoting marriage from a cultural viewpoint than evangelicals have done at defending marriage from a religious viewpoint. We should not require or need other disciplines to articulate our beliefs.
The best fuel for redefining marriage is redefinition by fracture: Divorce. If Christians are going to articulate the case for natural marriage, we’ll have to come alongside our fold of political philosophers and editorialists, but we’ll also have to repent of an anemic marriage culture in our own churches and replace it with a robust one.
In the marriage debates, we might find ourselves in some uncomfortable conversations. Equip yourself. Don’t roll over and play dead. That’s what the opponents of natural marriage want. The debate, today, is entering trench warfare. Persevere. We may be called a “bigot” in our best, most winsome replies but I’d still prefer that to “coward.” Would you?