Sunday, February 23, 2014

Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage-Part 2

 I continue my series here in support of traditional marriage.  To start at the first post, click this link to "What Is Marriage?"

In my post last week, I began outlining five secular (or non-biblical) reasons to support traditional marriage and to not support the new revisionist "same-sex" version of marriage.  I covered the first two reasons "Redefining marriage is harmful to children" and "Redefining marriage will bring great harm to society as a whole".  I cover the last three reasons here:

3. Redefining Marriage Will Undermine Same-sex Friendships. Admittedly, this is one of the most difficult-to-understand yet insidious side effects of the effort to redefine marriage. Changing the definition of marriage from the traditional view (as defined in my article "What Is Marriage?") to the revisionist view will have serious implications on non-sexual relationships. In their book "What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense" Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George make this argument:
The more we absorb this assumption (that marriage is defined as “the relationship in our lives which matters most”), the less we value deep friendship in its own right. Self-disclosure, unembarrassed reliance, self-forgetfulness, extravagant expressions of affection, and other features of companionship come to seem gauche—or even feel like unwelcome impositions—outside romance and marriage. We come to see friendships as mere rest stops on the way back to family life. It becomes harder to share experiences with our friend that we could just as well have shared with our spouse, without seeming to detract from our marriage.
On the other hand:
The conjugal view, by contrast, gives marriage a definite shape, as ordered to true bodily union and thus to family life. If the revisionist view sees single people as just settling for less, the conjugal view leaves room for different forms of communion, each with its own distinctive scale and form of companionship and support. It keeps from making marriage totalizing: it clarifies what we owe our spouses in marital love; what we owe it to them not to share with others; and what we could share now
Just think about. Already in our society, when we see two men or two women in a close, intimate friendship, don't we tend to assume that it is sexual in nature? This was certainly not always the case.  Throughout history, men and women have enjoyed close friendships with others of their own gender, often while also enjoying a marital relationship with their opposite-sex spouse. With the “new norm”, we are conflating the two very-different types of relationships, while potentially undermining both our friendship and marital relationships.

4. Redefining marriage will almost certainly lead to the erosion of monogamy and permanence.  These "marriage mainstays" have served civilization well for thousands of years, giving stability to homes for millennia.  Girgis, Anderson, and George put it this way in their Wall Street Journal article, “The Wisdom Of Upholding Tradition,”

...if two men can marry, or two women, then what sets marriage apart from other bonds must be emotional intensity or priority. But nothing about emotional union requires it to be permanent. Or limited to two. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive.
Because of the nature of homosexual relationships, promiscuity likely will become the norm and lifetime relationships even less likely among heterosexuals. Let's look at the following statistics as provided by the Family Research Council:
  • The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a "current relationship," only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years.
  • Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime:The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per person.
  • Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners
  • In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison reported that, in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years: Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years.
When we redefine marriage based solely on the intensity of the relationship, we have broken down every barrier that would keep marriage as an exclusive relationship between two people. In “What Is Marriage,” the authors quote prominent proponents of “same-sex marriage”, who unabashedly describe the agenda beyond gay marriage:

Consider the norm of monogamy. Judith Stacey—a prominent New York University professor who is in no way regarded as a fringe figure, in testifying before Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act—expressed hope that the revisionist view’s triumph would give marriage “varied, creative, and adaptive contours . . . [leading some to] question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek . . . small group marriages.”In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than three hundred “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates—including prominent Ivy League professors—call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners. University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires us to use legal recognition to “denormalize heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and correct for “past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.

Is this argument just a “slippery-slope” scare tactic used by traditional marriage advocates like myself to scare people needlessly about what these non-traditional arrangements might lead to? Not hardly. Consider this: In December, 2013, A Utah judge handed down the first pro-polygamy ruling in Utah in 130 years. The judge favored the “Sister Wives” family of one man, four wives, and seventeen children over the government. The reality-star “husband” of the “Sister Wives,” Kody Brown, told ABC News, I think that anybody should be able to organize their family according to how they choose.”

Nationally syndicated radio-host and author Dennis Prager made the following statement in his latest article, “Judges,Hubris, and Same-sex Marriage,”

 If American society has a “constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal

basis,” then there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry.
It should be obvious to any rational person, that children raised in households with multiple male or female partners or in households where the parents have multiple sexual relationships outside of marriage are not being raised in a stable home environment. This will have multiple societal repercussions as we deal with further erosion of the marriage ideals.
5.  Redefining marriage will have a serious impact on the religious liberties and First Amendment rights of those who don't agree. We've already seen how those in favor of redefining marriage are willing to use the coercive force of law to marginalize and penalize those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Consider these examples
  • A New Mexico photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony due to her religious beliefs was hauled before a state human rights commission--even though plenty of other photographers were available.
  • Christian charities in Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington, D.C. were forced to stop providing adoption and foster care services because they wanted to place children with married moms and dads, in accordance with their religious and moral beliefs.
  • A Washington state florist respectfully declined to design floral arrangements for a same-sex couple's wedding ceremony because of her religious beliefs. Though many other florists were available, the state's attorney general has sued the florist.
  • Owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law
In this latter case, Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious liberty concerns:

[F]or all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.
The pace to get “on the right side of history” has increased at a breathtaking rate in just the last few months. In fact, a recent New York Times article quoteAndrew M. Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern in saying“It is becoming increasingly clear to judges that if they rule against same-sex marriage their grandchildren will regard them as bigots.” Earlier this month, a judge in Virginia struck down a same-sex marriage ban in that state that even the New York Times in the above article stated was “marked by haste.” Her rational for the haste? “When core civil rights are at stake,” she said, “the judiciary must act.”
So it is now a “core civil rights issue” Judges are afraid of being characterized as bigots. As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”
This impetus to label opponents of the effort to redefine marriage as "bigots"  receives its impetus from an effort to conflate same-sex marriage with the 1960's ban against interracial marriage, though there is no similarity except the word “marriage.” As Dennis Prager puts it, “..the analogy is false because there is no difference between black people and white people, while there are enormous differences between males and females.”  
Ryan T. Anderson makes the following point in his Heritage Foundation paper, "Marriage:What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It”
Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else....
Some might appeal to historical inevitability as a reason to avoid answering the question of what marriage is—as if it were an already moot question. However, changes in public opinion are driven by human choice, not by blind historical forces. The question is not what will happen, but what we should do.
The choices we make in this issue, will not only affect us, but generations of Americans after us.  With the rush to get on "the right side of history," we are disregarding the staggering implications of our choices which will undermine the very foundations of the great society in which we live.

Following is the first of an earlier series on marriage that I wrote last year:

Reflections On Thirty Years Of Marriage-Part 1

For an inspirational lift, check out my new book, "Grace In Shoe Leather." It's an amazing story of grace and forgiveness that has made a difference in the lives of so many. You can download it here: 


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