Read the introduction and parts I , II, and III of this series.
Here was my response to my friend’s latest (part III)–her words are preceeded with a >, mine comes with a –:
photo credit: babble.com
>The same argument was made when interacial marriage was not allowed–they all had the right to marry, just not between races. Bigotry, plain and simple. If it was reversed Rich, and marriages were only allowed between the same sex, would heterosexuals be upset?
–The article I sent you actually gets into this a bit with the bank illustration. The fact that similar *objections* were used in both cases isn’t meaningful; the similarity of objections are only meaningful if the circumstances are the same, and in this case, the two relationships are very different.
With interracial marriage, skin color is trivial to the nature of the union. Gender, however, is key to unions. Like the article says, ‘Ethnicity has no bearing on marriage. Sex (not just asexual act, mind you, but the broader category of gender) is fundamental to it.’
To see this point, consider that you could make the same objection to any number of relationships. If, fifty years into the future, polygamists are fighting for multi-partner marriages, a polygamist could say to objectors, ‘They said the same thing about interracial marriage,’ but that response would be wrong headed, for the same reason its wrong headed here; the objection is the same, but the circumstances are very, very different. They could argue, as you have, that ‘if the situation were reversed and they only allowed polygamous marriages, would heterosexual couples be upset?’ Would they have a point? They could argue, ‘the difference between other committed relationships and polygamy is*choice.*’ Would they have a point?
>First, they don’t want preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved – that statement IS ignorant.
–So lets take sex out of it. Something is unique about homosexual relationships, and whatever it is, same-sex marriage proponents thinks it sets those relationships apart from other committed relationships to the point that they claim homosexual relationships should be called ‘marriages,’ where the other relationships shouldn’t be called that.
What is that ‘unique quality’ that sets those relationships apart from, say, me wanting to get married to my 12 year old cousin, or a three some or foursome? Why is age and number so significant? What’s so scary about the number 2 and the age 18? The key question is: if you are going to change the definition of marriage (which is what SSM proponents want to do), why have special pleading?
‘Choice’ doesn’t work, for then I could turn around and argue that I should have the choice to marry in a three some (or my12 year old sister, take whatever example you want) merely because I want to.
Here’s the bottom line: First, the reason why government grants special status (by calling it ‘marriage’) to heterosexual unions is because it benefits the next generation. This goes regardless of whether or not a specific couple or all couples choose to have children. Any child that *is* born/adopted deserves a mom and dad.
In the real world, a great number of children don’t have this, but that shouldn’t stop the government and society from making it easier. Basically, while certain heterosexual relationships indeed are dysfunctional (thanks to many things, no-fault divorce being one of them), and though I know a homosexual couple can and do love their children well (better than many heterosexual couples!), it remains true that having a mom and a dad is the best environment for a child.
This goes far past the ability to produce children. Rather, the matter is: given that government has a vested interest in the health of the next generation, what is the best environment for raising it?
Government allows many other relationships. It doesn’t criminalize single moms, for instance, but it does not privilege them by calling them marriage because those relationships don’t, strictly speaking, benefit society.
Secondly, *people* deserve to be treated equally, not relationships, feelings, behaviors, or desires. Rights are grounded in someone’s humanity, not those other things I just mentioned. Having a desire (in this case, to get married to a member of the same gender) doesn’t mean that the government should grant that desire. To see this, just think about the absurd examples I referenced above (the desire to get married to someone underage, for instance).
Thirdly, and most importantly, same-sex couples already *do*have the same benefits as heterosexual married couples under Family Code297.5 (go here:http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=00001-01000&file=297-297.5).
All that is left is the name ‘marriage.’ What’s so meaningful about that? Calling a same-sex relationship a ‘marriage’ doesn’t add any sort of benefit, so why is there such a big to-do about it?
The answer is that calling same-sex relationships ‘marriages’ confers approval. This is what the debate is all about: if government privileges same-sex relationships (saying ‘allows’ is not the right word, for the government already does that–same-sex couples can love each other, live together, walk down the isle,and get partner benefits…the government isn’t making any of that illegal and it isn’t criminalizing same-sex relationships.), that is tantamount to approval. That means the people, who are part of the government, approve as well.
If you listen carefully to same-sex marriage proponents, you’ll hear this come out. (Current addition coming up) In fact, Augustine, who attempted to “eviscerate” Greg Koukl (whom I linked to in both the introduction and part two of the series) admitted as much when he said, “I have argued is that disallowing gay marriage unfairly prevents same-sex couples from being given the same level of respect and validation by the state as every single heterosexual couple is entitled to.”
The key question is this: Is *approval* of one’s relationship a right? Someone might want approval,and those relationships might or might not be morally ok, but does that make it a right?
No…well, I take that back, it might be, but you’ve gotta argue for it. You’ve gotta show how the government approving of same-sex relationships would benefit society (even if you were able to show that, that wouldn’t make it a right, but a privilege.). That is something I’ve seen no one do. What I’ve seen so far (and I’ve been reading around and talking to lots of different people) is a lot of question-begging: calling it a right without arguing for it, then attacking the character of those that disagree (no matter what their reason for disagreeing is).
This goes right to the heart of Koukl’s “French voter” illustration. Yes, I’m aware the guy doesn’t live in France. That is a difference, but not an important one.
The relevant part of the analogy is desire: should the government actively sanction something just because someone desires it? Not unless such sanctioning will benefit the common good. Again, desires, inclinations, and behaviors are not proper grounding for rights; this was the point of the illustration.
You know what, at the end of the day, even if there people did vote for traditional marriage for only religious reasons, whats so out of bounds about that? It is perfectly fine. It’s not a violation of the Establishment Clause to vote for an individual citizen to vote for a certain bill/candidate based upon religious conviction.
In the public square it is more beneficial to have arguments that a wide swath of people from different viewpoints can agree to, but that doesn’t mean religious conviction has no place in my (or anyone else’s) voting conscience.
Crying foul because some voted for religious reasons is a foolish attempt at marginalizing a certain point of view. When I go to the voting booth, should I act, believe, behave, and vote like a secularist, or should I, as a Christian, just have no voice?
Keep reading on Friday (I will not post on this on Christmas day…Jesus, not homosexuality, owns that day!) for the conclusion of this series!
Also check out related posts from my own blog:
Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience
Tony Jones: Same-sex Blogalogue Update
Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed
Jim Carey, Eat your Heart Out
Proposition 8 Protest Links
But its a Religious Argument!
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