The Debate Over Gay Marriage
Shouldn’t adults have the freedom to do anything they want as long as they’re not hurting anyone? That seems to be a common question with those advocating gay marriage. The controversial issues are gays see the illegality of marrying another of the same gender as a restriction of their freedoms while others worry about negative impacts same sex marriage could have on traditional marriages. If gays are simply allowed to make the same marriage commitment as heterosexuals what’s the harm?
Those objecting to such arrangements argue there’s nothing stopping them from doing that now. They already have the liberty to do what they want with their own lives. If that’s true, what’s the problem? It happens all the time so it must be something else. A marriage license goes a step further than merely providing freedom to marry. It gives society's stamp of approval.
According to most heterosexuals the problem isn’t about denying anyone freedom, but expecting the rest of society to approve regardless if it goes against their moral values or not. They feel that’s an infringement on their freedom. Thus, it becomes another issue entirely, because the definition of marriage is now being redefined.
And if the definition can be redefined at any given time doesn’t that suggest the marriage ceremony isn't anything sacred or special. If an entire society accepts such reasoning doesn’t that also suggest the family isn't any particular thing either, just a simple convention invented by man? If so, it has strong ramifications for families of the future as we see it today.
How can redefining marriage have negative impacts? Recently it was reported a Colorado man brought his horse to the courthouse attempting to get a marriage license for the two of them. Now, it’s logical to assume the horse couldn’t consent to the marriage. But regardless, the court clerk was momentarily caught off guard. Quickly accessing the situation the clerk responded by informing the applicant the horse wasn't 18 years old yet, thus under the age of consent.
Obviously, there’s more to consider about marriage than mere consent. Traditionally, marriage has had a particular purpose and not something to be taken lightly. Consider the following situation.
It was shocking news when Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation's oldest adoption agencies, announced they were getting out of the business. Catholic Charities had long specialized in finding good homes for hard to place kids. The organization didn’t receive any government funding so what prompted such a drastic decision? The Vatican had made clear placing children with same sex couples violated Catholic teaching.
The gay community responded by pointing out, every one of the nation's leading children's welfare groups agreed a parent's sexual orientation was irrelevant to their ability to raise a child. However, to operate an adoption agency in Massachusetts, they must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination, including the ban on orientation discrimination. They simply were not prepared to abandon their beliefs.
The First Amendment was written in part to protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage. But when the religious right objects to gay marriage, calling it a sin, they are seen as overreacting.
Some gays claim nowhere in the Bible is it found any person has a right to judge others…that it’s a book about love, not hate. They also say it advocates loving your neighbor as you would yourself and leaves Judgment to God. Sounds good, but is it correct? Their opponents point to a number of references teaching the propriety of identifying sin for what it is.
For example, in Ephesians 5:11 (New International Version) it is written “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” They continue by adding the word "sin" is mentioned 380 times and reason using the Bible, to identify a sinful conduct is in itself an attempt to let God decide what sin is.
And if some gays are using the bible to support their views, many wonder why gay rights supporters, stormed a Lansing, Michigan, church during services throwing condoms, pulling the fire alarm and yelling things like “It’s okay to be gay” and “Jesus was a homo.” No doubt such actions might cause some to consider the tolerance doctrine many gays promote is nothing more than a farce. Of course, there’s more than enough blame to go around. Gays have been maligned and targeted with violence as well.
The religiously inclined see marriage as holy and therefore must be treated with reverence. They also feel it’s basic to the health of society and therefore a public institution. No one can logically argue marriage isn’t a public institution. Consequently, it should be subjected to the same objective analysis given any other public policy issue. Marriage is not merely an emotional private matter between two people. Its success or failure impacts all of society.
As a society, we deplore acts of discrimination or hatred against anyone but we must speak our minds. Prohibiting homosexual marriage is not just a "fairness" or “hatred” issue. Each side of the aisle has valid points and the argument may never be settled. But one thing is certain. It will never be solved by hate and violence.