Posts Tagged ‘same-sex marriage’

Here’s my response to this week’s challenge:


Here are some related posts that address a few of the challenges made in the flowchart.

Jesus never said anything about about homosexuality

The Bible defines marriage in multiple ways

Zack Wahls’s case for same-sex marriage

Christians can’t impose their moral standards on society

If marriage is really about having children, then doesn’t it follow that heterosexual couples who can’t (or don’t plan to) have children shouldn’t be allowed to marry? That’s this week’s challenge that I answered today.

Let me be blunt: denying same-sex couples from marriage is not the same as denying interracial couples from it. Although anti-miscegenation laws were immoral, the same mistake is not happening today. And despite the rhetorical force of making the comparison, merely claiming it’s the same does not make it so.

One of the problems with this comparison is that it presumes sexual orientation is a genetically predetermined trait like race. But it’s not, as I’ve argued in a previous post. Numerous researchers have also testified to this. Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project to identify every human gene, has said regarding homosexuality: “Whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations…”[i] Harvard geneticist and homosexual, Dean Hamer, admitted that, “The best recent study suggests that female sexual identification is more a matter of environment than heredity.”[ii] Even the American Psychological Association, a group that advances homosexual causes, doesn’t claim that genes determine sexual orientation. They say, “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.”[iii]

Homosexuality, then, develops also from environmental factors, not merely genetic ones. And since environmental factors vary in type, frequency, and degree, homosexuality is not inescapable. Depending on your developmental environment, you could or could not develop same-sex attractions.

Race, however, is entirely genetic and therefore inescapable. You’re not born an African American – you’re conceived as one. Your race is determined the moment the chromosomes of the sperm and egg blend together. Nothing will change that. Neither your mother’s diet, the hormones in her womb, nor intrauterine trauma will alter your birth as an African American. And once you’re born, your race is impervious to cultural, social, or psychological influences during childhood development. Nothing can alter – even slightly – your race.

That means homosexuals can’t claim they’re like African Americans in the sense that they are born that way. Their plight is not the same. African Americans are genetically born that way. Homosexuals are not.

But the differences grow more significant. Since homosexuality is not merely the product of genes, it is mutable. Homosexuals can and do change. I personally know men who have changed. This type of mutability has been observed for thousands of years and documented by researchers for the last one hundred years (I’ve written about this in a previous post). In fact, sexual orientation in females is quite fluid.

Actress Anne Heche is an example. She grew up as a heterosexual, got involved in a lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, then married a man with whom she had a child, and now is living with another man. The same is true of former “Sex and the City” star, Cynthia Nixon. She grew up heterosexual, married a man, and had two children. In 2004, she became a lesbian. Nixon also infuriated the homosexual community by claiming that her change in orientation was, “a choice.” She went on to explain: “I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me… Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?”[iv]

My point is not that sexual orientation is a choice. I’m simply acknowledging that it’s mutable for some people.

Race, however, is immutable. I don’t know any African Americans that have changed their race. None of them have become Swedish for a few years. It can’t happen, even in principle.

But there’s even a more significant problem with comparing homosexuals with African Americans, especially with regards to the issue of marriage. Interracial couples can marry because they can fulfill an essential function of marriage. As Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has explained, marriages bind males and females for the long term and protect the rights children have to be with their parents. Male-female unions are the precise kind of pairing that produces children and provides the ideal environment to raise them. Having an African American marry a Caucasian doesn’t impact that function in any way.

Homosexual couples, on the other hand, don’t include both sexes. Not only are they incapable – by nature – to produce children, but they are also ill-suited to raise kids who need a mother and a father (I’ve argued this in a previous post). That’s why the state has never sanctioned the relationship of two men or two women, but they sanction interracial unions so long as they’re heterosexual.

Homosexuals are hoping to convince the culture that their plight is the same as African Americans. Naturally, this has a strong, rhetorical effect. But with careful reflection it becomes apparent the two groups are not parallel in meaningful ways. That’s because race and sex are not the same. This makes all the difference.

[i] F. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2007), 260.

[ii] D. Hamer and P. Copeland, Living with Our Genes: Why They Matter More Than You Think (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1009), 188.

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.

People ask me, “Isn’t it better for a child to be adopted by a gay couple than to not be adopted at all?” I often hear this question loaded with two scenarios:

  • Scenario A: The child lives in an institution, is routinely neglected, given poor nutrition, and often physically and sexually abused.
  • Scenario B: The child lives with two loving women who are lesbians, who have stable jobs, live in a house, and have lots of family in the area.
  • The question: Wouldn’t it be better for the child to be adopted by the lesbians and grow up under scenario B?

Well, sure, I guess when you construct the options that way, who will argue with you? I guess the child would be better off with the lesbians. So what’s that prove? Nothing.

I could construct two scenarios in a different way. What if the lesbians didn’t have a stable relationship, couldn’t keep steady jobs, experienced domestic violence in their home, and often used drugs. The other adoptive option was a married heterosexual couple (one a doctor and the other a teacher), who lived in the same home for 18 years, and who had already adopted a child.

Given those two options, wouldn’t it be better for the child to be adopted by the heterosexual couple? Sure, but what’s that prove? That you can construct any combination of scenarios designed to prove that a certain set of people would be better parents.

But you don’t determine public policy based on the exception or extreme case. For example, there might be some instances when it’s justified to run a red light – like rushing a dying person to the emergency room – but that doesn’t mean we should make running red lights legal. That’s bad public policy.

It reminds me of Zach Wahls, the 19 year-old University of Iowa student who made an impassioned appeal for same-sex marriage and parenting to the Iowa House of Representatives. His YouTube video went viral (more than 16 million views) after he argued that his lesbian mothers did a fine job of raising him. Maybe they did, but you can’t generalize one’s person’s experience for an entire group of people. Just because two homosexuals were able to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child (assuming they did), that doesn’t mean homosexual couples – as a group – make the best parents.

Many single fathers have to raise children by themselves. They do the best they can given their circumstances. I’m sure some of these children will declare themselves – like Zach Wahls – to be just fine. But does that mean we should promote single male adoption?

The real question is whether a child who needs to be adopted is best served by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple – all things being equal. The question focuses on the needs of the child, not the wants of homosexuals who are politically motivated to normalize same-sex marriage and parenting.

The answer is straightforward: decades of published research in psychology, social science, and medicine demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage.[i] That’s because a mother and a father each provide a unique and important contribution to their role as parents. Children who are raised – for example – in fatherless families suffer, on average, in every measure of well-being. They have higher levels of physical and mental illness, educational difficulties, poverty, substance abuse, criminal behavior, loneliness, and physical and sexual abuse.[ii]

Homosexual adoption, by design, will deny a child either a mother or father every time. By legalizing same-sex parenting, society declares by law that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. That means a mother offers no unique contribution to a child. A man could provide all the benefits of a woman.

Besides being counterintuitive, this deprives a son or daughter the distinctive benefits of being raised by both sexes.[iii] A compassionate and moral society comes to the aid of motherless or fatherless children. We don’t intentionally design families to deny children a mother or father. But that’s the result of same-sex parenting.

Lesbian parent Rosie O’Donnell confessed to Diane Sawyer in an ABC interview that her six-year-old adopted son, Parker, said, “I want to have a daddy.” Rosie answered him, “If you were to have a daddy, you wouldn’t have me as a mommy because I’m the kind of mommy who wants another mommy.”[iv] Notice the attention is shifted from the needs of children to the wants of couples. Although Parker asked for a father, his request was trumped by Rosie’s personal desire to be a lesbian parent.

Do Rosie and her lesbian lover know how to raise Parker to become a man? Do they know how to teach him how to treat a woman or his future wife? How will they be his role model?

Glenn Stanton and Bill Maier explore this idea and the suggestion that merely two loving adults are all that’s needed to raise kids: “The two most loving mothers in the world can’t be a father to a little boy. Love can’t equip mothers to teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the two most loving men can’t be a mother to a child. Love does little to help a man teach a little girl how to be a woman. Can you imagine two men guiding a young girl through her first menstrual cycle or helping her through the awkwardness of picking out her first bra? Such a situation might make for a funny television sitcom but not a very good real-life situation for a young girl.”[v] And these are just a few of the absurdities that arise when you jettison the commonsense notion that men and women are both unique and valuable in their role as parents.

Same-sex parenting doesn’t make sense and that is why it must be forced on the people by the state. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse explains: “Marriage between men and women is a pre-political, naturally emerging social institution. Men and women come together to create children, independently of any government…By contrast, same-sex ‘marriage’ is completely a creation of the state. 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.”[vi]

The price of homosexual adoption is too high. For it to work, the state must redefine marriage, create parentage laws for homosexual couples, and deny the unique role that mothers and fathers play. In the end, children lose and we lose. Children are harmed, which in the end affects everyone in our culture. For this reason, I believe even homosexuals should oppose homosexual adoption.

[i] This is supported by multiple studies including Mary Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?” Center for Law and Social Policy, Policy Brief, May 2003, p. 1, and Kristin Anderson Moore et al., “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?” Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p. 1.

[ii] Much of this research is referenced in David Popenoe, Life Without Father (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).

[iii] See Yale Medical School’s Dr. Kyle Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child (New York: Free Press, 2000), 17-34.

[iv] PrimeTime Thursday, March 14, 2002.

[v] Glenn T. Stanton and Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 71.

Advocates of same-sex marriage attempt to dismiss the biblical view of marriage by claiming that scripture contains and condones multiple definitions of marriage. Here’s my response to this challenge.

I respond to a recent YouTube video that’s gone viral. It’s of Zach Wahls making an appeal for same-sex marriage to the Iowa House of Representatives.

For the STRplace blog community who responded to the challenge, I address your comments in a separate video below.