Should Homosexuals Be Able to Marry Whom They Love?

Posted: May 9, 2012 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing
Tags: , ,

Are we really depriving homosexuals the right to marry the person they love? Yes. But there’s nothing unusual about that. Nobody has the right to marry any person they love. Everyone has restrictions.

When you take an honest look at the marriage law, it turns out that there is nothing unfair about it. Homosexuals have the same rights and the same restrictions as heterosexuals. For example, there is no legal right granted to a heterosexual that does not apply in exactly the same way to every homosexual. Both can marry in any state. Both can marry someone of the opposite sex. Both can receive the benefits that come with legal marriage. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are treated alike.

There is also no legal restriction for homosexuals that does not also apply in exactly the same way to every heterosexual. Neither one can marry their sibling. Both are prohibited from marrying someone already married. They can’t marry a child. And neither has the freedom to marry someone of the same sex.

The marriage law applies equally to every person, whether they are homosexual or not. Everyone is treated the same.

Homosexuals cry foul, of course, because the kind of person they are legally entitled to marry is not a person they love. They believe this is a restriction that is limited to them. But it’s not. There isn’t a person in the United States that has unfettered freedom to marry anyone just because they love them. There are numerous parings of people who love each other and can’t marry.

I have a male friend who I’ve known for over a decade. We have a long-term, committed relationship. We talk every week, we make sacrifices to visit one another, and we’re there to meet each other’s needs. We’re not sexually involved, but I routinely say I love him and he says the same to me. I can’t marry him even though he’s someone I love. I’m restricted. The state won’t recognize our relationship.

Brothers and sisters usually develop strong bonds. They love one another and often have deep, meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime. Their commitment to one another is significant. But they can’t marry one another. Though they love each, they state won’t recognize their relationship. The same is true of two brothers or two sisters.

Fathers and daughters also have long-term, committed relationships. There’s a special bond between them that develops and lasts for years. I can say that the love I feel towards my daughter has a unique texture to it. It’s taught me an aspect of love that, until I had a daughter, I never experienced. There are things that I’ve done and would do for her that virtually no one else on the planet can make me do. And like many fathers and daughters, our special relationship could last half a century or more. But guess what? The state doesn’t care about us as a couple. It doesn’t matter how much we love each other. We can’t get married.

There are dozens of more examples of pairs of people who develop strong, meaningful, and long-term relationships. These people love each other, but that doesn’t mean the state is required to recognize them within the definition of marriage.

Sometimes people point out that in these examples there is no sexual activity and that’s why it’s not the same as a homosexual pair. But why does that matter? Why do we have to use our sex organs with one another to qualify for marriage? Isn’t it enough that we love each other and are committed? Making sexual activity a requirement for marriage is arbitrary.

So what do all these relationships (and many others) have in common? None of them produce the next generation. Committed male friends, siblings, and parent-child relationships don’t have kids.

There is one kind of couple that, throughout all of human history, is known to produce children: heterosexuals. Long-term, monogamous, heterosexual unions as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They create families that become the building blocks of civilization. These families are the most stable and advantageous environment for raising children. They not only stabilize society, they make society possible. That role can’t be underestimated.

Notice that I said, “As a group and by nature.” As a group, heterosexual couples have kids. There may be exceptions, but the group’s tendency is to produce children. Laws are designed to generalize for the group. “By nature” is a reference to the fact that heterosexual unions produce children by the natural function of their sexual activity. Unlike male friends, siblings, and other relationship couples, it is biologically natural for heterosexuals to produce children.

The government, that normally has a hands-off policy to most relationships, gets involved in sanctioning these long-term, heterosexual unions. It creates a group of privileges and protections for these male-female couplings because it recognizes their role in creating and stabilizing society.

But the government doesn’t get involved in any other relationship pair. It doesn’t legally sanction two male friends, siblings, or father-daughter relationships. That’s because, though there are exceptions, they don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They might love each other – deeply and for a long period of time – but that is irrelevant to the government. The state has a concern to perpetuate and protect our civilization and that explains its vested interested in heterosexual unions.

So why does the government not sanction the relationship of two homosexual males? For the same reason it doesn’t sanction the relationship of male friends, siblings, or a father and daughter. Homosexual couples don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation. Although, theoretically, homosexuals can adopt, this is the exception. Most same-sex lovers don’t pursue parenting. Furthermore, children don’t naturally result from their sexual activity.

Instead, the state must intervene and grant them children. As Jennifer Roback Morse explains, “Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple. The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage.”

A common objection is that marriage can’t be about children because not all married couples have kids. First, although that’s true, every child has a mother and father and a right to know them. These children have a vested interest in the union and stability of their parents. But that’s not something they can protect. Society needs to secure that right for kids so far as we are able.

Second, even if some marriages don’t produce children, it doesn’t nullify the natural tie of marriage to procreation. The purpose of marriage remains regardless of whether married couples actualize it or not. Books are meant to be read even if they collect dust on a bookshelf.

Third, marriages create the optimal environment for raising children. Same-sex marriage intentionally creates the condition where a child is denied their mother or father or both. This is not healthy, a claim that has been long noted by researchers.

The push for same-sex marriage is not primarily about the right to marry the person you love. No one has that right because everyone – including heterosexuals – is restricted. Nor is it to secure the right to adopt children. Homosexuals could be granted every legal right and privilege of marriage, but they would still demand the right to legal marriage.

That’s because this battle is not principally about rights, but about respect. Homosexuals demand public approval for their lifestyle and relationships. As Time magazine wrote, same-sex marriage advocates, “want nothing less than full social equality, total validation—not just the right to inherit a mother-in-law’s Cadillac. As Andrew Sullivan, the (also persistently single) intellectual force behind gay marriage, has written, ‘Including homosexuals within marriage would be a means of conferring the highest form of social approval imaginable.’”[i]

Make no mistake about it. Redefining marriage will impact our culture. It won’t be today, next week, or next year. It will be in the long-term because ideas have consequences. When you sever the natural tie of marriage to procreation and no longer require that children be attached to their parents, you’re doing violence to a vital institution. Marriages start families and families produce the next generation. This is how we secure and stabilize society. That’s why you can’t take a sledgehammer to the core of civilization – the family – and expect that no harm will come.

[i] “Will Gay Marriage be Legal?” Time, 2/21/00.

  1. […] the state is required to recognize them within the definition of marriage. … Original post: Should Homosexuals Be Able to Marry Whom They Love? « STR … ← Redefining Grace | Lifetime […]

  2. Logan says:

    While there are a myriad of controversial statements in this well thought out article, I would like to focus on three. First, your assertion that heterosexuals are equally affected by the laws preventing gay marriage – technically, that’s true. While we’re at it, let’s ban black people from going to school with white people. Segregation affects everyone equally! Unfortunately, gay people can’t simply choose to be straight anymore than black people can choose to be white, the late King of Pop notwithstanding. I’m sure you will disagree with this but it’s a proven fact and it seems obvious. I, as a straight male, can’t possibly imagine being gay and I would assume the opposite is true. Second, I disagree with your claim that ” [heterosexual] marriages create the optimal environment for raising children.” How many children in heterosexual families are abused or neglected during their childhood? How many are brought up to hate other races or religions? I’m not saying that there aren’t gay couples that would be just as bad, just that there are plenty that would be better. Lastly, while I disagree wholly with your stance on gays and their rights, I respect your beliefs and your fight to believe them. I respect your heterosexual ways, your right to believe in God and your right to have a last name that sounds like someone trying to disguise the word ‘lemon’. I’m proud to be an American because here, in the United States, we founded a society based on the belief that the government shouldn’t interfere with our life, liberty or pursuit of happiness and that all men are created equal. The founders of this nation believed it in 1776 and I still do – even if that pursuit involves two men or two women getting married.

    • J says:

      RIght on!! I could poke so many holes in what this guy is saying, but im not going to because he has his right to believe what he wants. I about died laughing reading this crap. Im a heterosexual, happily married woman with one kid under my belt and now trying for another. I believe EVERYONE has the right to be happy. If you are IN LOVE with the person then you should have the right to marry or spend the rest of your lives together. Also more then likely a heterosexual couple ended up having a gay child, so this person is supposed to be treated differently because of a choice or uncontrolled choice to be gay?? I hope eventually ignorance is bread out of the population. Thanks for your post 🙂

    • Clark says:

      Logan, The comparison of race to sexuality is apples to oranges. You say that it’s a proven fact that a homosexual cannot become straight, but there a literally thousands of testimonials that contradict this statement. While there are heterosexual marriages that are poor environments for children, this is the exception and not the norm, whereas in homosexual relationships, the norm is instability. You’re right, the government shouldn’t be invovled in this, which is only support for keeping the government from making judicial decisions to normalize homosexual marriage. As fare as the equal life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, no homosexual is denied any part of those three on the basis of his homosexuality. This is an emotional issue, but rationality should prevail in these circumstances.

    • El712 says:

      I don’t think the author was speaking about unhealthy heterosexual marriages. Think about it. if you where to compare a HEALTHY heterosexual, HEALTHY homosexual, Healthy single parent home, Healthy Foster parents (or any other “healthy” family structure) free of abuse and neglect what would be the best environment? I believe that author would point to heterosexual. Why? the author pointed out that every child has a right to be with their biological father and mother. Why would we want anything less than the ideal environmental if that environment is healthy?

      to your point about life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If a sizable amount of the population wanted to marry their daughter, or marry multiply wives or even their dog for that matter because that is what makes them happy should government make it a right to do so.

      I guess where do we draw the line? In what situations would it not be OK NOT to marry someone just because you love them so much?

  3. Travis Young says:

    since both of you are in favor of homosexual marriage, where would you say we should draw the line? In what situations should two (or more) people not be allowed to marry? Just trying to determine where you stand so please don’t respond rudely or sarcastically.

  4. E Dabs says:

    Logan says “gay people can’t simply choose to be straight anymore than black people can choose to be white……its a proven fact”. Really?!! Says who? Proven in what way? Do you realise that the founders were Bible believers and when they spoke of “liberty in the pursuit of happiness” they would have understood that to exclude “sin”! What other sins would you allow in the name of liberty?

    Why do you people find it soooo difficult to be polite in your postings? You pretend to respect the writers right to believe what he does, but then poke fun at his name. Was that necessary?

    • The funny thing about Logan’s comment is that the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports more thant 1,000 cases of individuals who once identified themselves as gay but now do not. If trying to change one’s sexual orientation is really like trying to change the color of one’s skin, such cases would be impossible. The mere existance of an ex-gay community disproves Logan’s “proven fact.”

      • Sam Harper says:

        Isn’t it at least possible, though, that a lot of these people who claim to be ex-gay are actually bi-sexual people who have simply developed a stronger preference for one gender over another in the same way that somebody who once preferred red heads now prefers Asians? I’m skeptical that people really go from being gay to being straight simply because I’m skeptical that people can go from being straight to being gay, and I’m skeptical of that just because I don’t think I could do it. But then, I’m not a representative sample of the 6 billion people who live, so I could be wrong.

  5. kharismatickayteh says:

    The entire thing just screams bigotry to me. It may be eloquently worded and not openly bashing anyone, but it still insists on denying someone rights simply because they don’t love who the government and/or churches say they should love.

    Saying heterosexuals and homosexuals have the very same rights to marry is inadequate. What’s said there is absolutely 100% true, but that’s not okay. All it’s saying is that homosexuals can get married — so long as they marry someone of the opposite gender. Unfortunately, and quite obviously, that’s not who homosexuals tend to be attracted to, and it’s wrong. It’s honestly about as terrible as arranged marriage — you can marry this dope that everyone wants you to marry, but if you don’t want to marry them, well, it sucks to be you.

    Also, comparing homosexual romantic relationships to a nonromantic relationship between friends or father and daughter does nothing for the argument, and it’s just downright degrading. People in long-term nonromantic relationships don’t want to marry anyway, so how do they even compare to relationships between people who are romantically involved? The only thing they have in common, as was said, is that they don’t produce children. Also as was said though, there are heterosexuals who can’t have children, and there are heterosexuals, like myself, who don’t even want children. Furthermore, there are heterosexual marriages that are recognized by the government that are, for lack of a more eloquent term, complete bullshit. Heterosexuals can get married and file for divorce 72 hours later, or they can get married while still intoxicated in Las Vegas, or, in North Carolina now, you can’t marry your gay partner of so many years, but you can marry your first cousin. Tell me what the capacity to have children has to do with deep, *romantic* love, and how allowing for same-sex marriage will do any harm to heterosexual marriage (‘cause I don’t think heterosexuals need any more help ruining their own marriages).

    On top of that, Alan writes that every child has a mother and a father and a right to know them — he says this as if children adopted to same-sex couples are being ripped away from their parents. They’re not. Crack-addicted parents who would rather spend money on their addiction than their kids might give up their kids for adoption to a pair of Dads who will love them like no one else. Parents die in accidents that leave children orphaned, and these children may go to homes with two Moms who will love them like their own. People argue that a kid having two parent-figures of the same gender will be lost and confused. I know this might come as a shock, but kids don’t give a crap. They really don’t. They notice that parents are usually one Mom and one Dad, and then they find it fascinating that a couple breaks the norm. Five seconds later, they want to get back to their video games.

    Lastly, to present any argument denying gays the right to marry other gays as simply protecting society is a facade. It is only about religion, and I refuse to let someone lie to me and tell me otherwise. If you don’t want to marry a man, then don’t, but don’t dare try and keep other men from marrying men if they want to do so. We live in a democracy or a republic, call it what you will, but we do not live in a theocracy, and religion absolutely should not govern the people.

    Now if you believe marrying someone of the same gender is wrong, I have no problem with that, and I do not wish to change your mind. If you believe it’s wrong, then don’t do it, but please please please let others marry the people they love. There are so many more important things we should be worrying about within our government, and this just… this just shouldn’t even be an issue.

  6. E Dabs says:

    Spencer – precisely!. But we must not let facts disturb our prejudices 😉

    Sam, not a convincing case if it is only a maybe! The homosexual community don’t want a “maybe”, which is why they claim it is proven! How would you feel is Paedophiles made a similar claim? Would that make Paedophilia acceptable in your eyes?

    Bottom line is sex outside of heterosexual marriage is a sin.

  7. derek richards says:

    At the end of the day this is about society choosing what they want. Its been doing this for thousands of years. Of course the slippery slope is what values should society hold if there is no God and life evolved from the big bang? Who has the right to make that judgement, Society as a whole – the majority. It’s like one big experiment – until the door has opened and the pathway has been trodden it is hard to say what the results will be – but by then it’s too late. But I do want to state a case. I agree there are many so called homosexuals who through the right environment have ended up strait and become happily married. If you want to read one story of a man molested, chastised and at the brink of a sexual make over – read Sy Rogers story. It’s a story of hope and inspiration through the support in a loving and caring environment. If you chose to do the research there are plenty of books that share the story of hope and freedom from Gay and lesbian desires.
    Many who have gone down the pathway of gay and lesbian life styles could share their unfortunate and sad stories as Sy has. The question here is – not all that we want or would love to do is right. Those boundaries come from the values that we and society hold. For me I have no doubt about a loving God and that God exists in spite of the state of the world we live in. You take the bench mark for Gods standard away, and you have no reference by which society’s values stand. The youth of today are about self; their rights to chose. That can have only 1 consequence in time. But God makes it clear in his word that true happiness and contentment only comes from righteousness and only the righteous will see and know their God. Like Eve – you want to taste the apple, and then there will be consequences. Society is in rebellion to God and they think free will is a way to a state of Happiness, but unless you understand true love and contentment, how can you truly know what love truly is. Only by knowing He that 1st loved us, can you know what true love actually is. God makes it clear the wrath against mankind in Romans 1 18-32. True love has boundaries and Gods boundaries are for the good of society – that’s why we have the 10 commandments – just maybe God knows more than us??? But as one wants to live a homosexual life – it’s a personal choice. God’s love for his creation desires that we chose the truth, but that was the freedom he gave us – to choose, and as society continues to rebel against God and His standards, expect even more of the slippery slope and values in society to continue in the downhill spiral. The media now portray homosexuality as normal, and little by little our society accepts the change though knowing in the heart that it is essentially wrong. Maybe one day, people will just cohabitate with children growing up in nurseries neither knowing their real mum.
    Our society will only be as strong as the strength you have in the family unit. It takes very little research to test that out or look through history to see the facts. Gods way is always best.

  8. David Marshall says:

    I understand the points made here. However, there are a lot of assumptions and “facts” stated with no real evidence. You did cite a source at the end, which was appreciated, but as a current college student, this article would fail hard because of the statements you are trying to make without any actual evidence for the statements you are making. I don’t necessarily disagree, but as someone who is currently wrestling with this topic (20 years of Mormon dogma will do that to you) and trying to find an actual scriptural answer, this doesn’t really help much. You can give answers all you want, but if we are to state our decision comes from our faith, we need to have more than just Leviticus and Romans verses, because by that standard, we should outlaw all adultery, go back to Prohibition, etc.

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  10. Bill says:

    Not that anyone will see this, but to David Marshall if the verses in the Bible that are abundantly clear about homosexuality being wrong aren’t enough… I think you just aren’t seeing the answer you are looking for. Truth is not subjective. Let God be true and every man a liar. Read John 10:26 and then read the rest of the Bible. Not the mormon bible. That’s a whole different ball of wax.

  11. Steven Davis says:

    despite being a heterosexual christian, i found this article laughable. you insult gay peoples’ love for each other by equating it with those other forms of love. just because we use the same word does not make them the same thing.

  12. tamara says:

    Its not a sin to love someone no matter what gender. I don’t think that people have the right to tell others who they need to love or cant love for that matter. If two consenting adults, one female one male can marry, then why cant two consenting adults male/male or female/female. Who are we to tell others what to do. It is the same as someone telling a man he cant marry the woman he loves even with her being of age. I say that all who thinks its a sin needs to reflect on there own marriage with their loves and imagine being told “No you two cant marry, you will marry someone else and she will marry another man.” you’d be depressed being forced to marry someone you don’t like, I know I would be. The gay community is the same as us and should not be judged just because they are different..

    • Amy Hall says:

      Tamara, I think it’s important to note that nobody is trying to deny the right of two people to love each other. Nor is anyone trying to force someone to marry a person they don’t want to marry. Two homosexuals are free to love each other now and even commit to each other, and that’s not going to change. And nobody is going to force them to marry a person of the opposite sex.

      Rather, what we’re talking about is the definition of what marriage is, and our argument is that it’s more than just two people loving each other. It’s an institution that developed out of the fact that the union of male and female creates children. Because this kind of union has social consequences, it’s necessary for society to be involved in it. That’s why governments got involved in regulating this union thousands of years ago. This is the only kind of union they’re involved with because it’s the only kind of union that creates new life (and thus, new families–the building block of society). Further, because men and women provide different things for children, it’s important that children have a parent of each sex.

      There’s much more we’ve written here on the subject of same-sex marriage, so take a look around if you’re interested. This is the briefest of brief explanations.