Is There a “Civil Right” to Gay “Marriage”?

Filed under Sexuality & Gender on November 15th, 2008 by Michael L. Brown

IS THERE A “CIVIL RIGHT” TO GAY “MARRIAGE”?

By

Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.,

Director, Coalition of Conscience, www.coalitionofconscience.org

November 15, 2008

As gay protests to the passage of Proposition 8 take place in cities across the nation today, it is important that we know the facts. How do we respond truthfully to the statements that are being made?

“I have the right to marry the one I love!”

If that is the case, then shouldn’t Patrick and Susan S. be allowed to marry in Germany? He was adopted as a child and didn’t know he had a sister until she was 16 and he was 23. He has served a prison sentence because of his love for his sister. They have had four children together and do not want to be separated. Why should the government intervene? Patrick says, “We are like normal lovers. We want to have a family.” Susan states, “I just want to live with my family, and be left alone by the authorities and by the courts.” Their attorney argues that the law against a brother and sister marrying “is out of date and it breaches the couple’s civil rights.” Does this sound familiar? If gays should have the “civil right” to marry the ones they love, why not a blood brother and sister, separated as children and reunited later in life?

“It is an outright lie to claim that legalizing same-sex marriages will affect what children are taught in the schools.”

U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf ruled against the Parkers and Wirthlins who had requested that their children be removed from elementary school classes when homosexuality and transgenderism were being promoted. Judge Wolf argued that teaching diversity in sexual orientation was “reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy” and trumped both parental rights and their sincerely held religious beliefs. And, since same-sex marriage was legal in Massachusetts, where the Parkers and Wirthlins reside, on what basis could they ask for their children to be removed from class? Based on this ruling, the superintendent of schools in Lexington, MA, recently explained to a concerned parent that, “The court decided we are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed.”

“This is a civil rights issue no different than segregation. We are born this way and we cannot change.”

Many black Americans are offended by this analogy and do not feel it is fair to compare the color of one’s skin with the sexual relations one chooses in private. Also, there is no such thing as “ex-black” whereas many people claim to be “ex-gay,” and recent scientific studies have confirmed that some homosexuals can, in fact, change, while other studies point to a large degree of sexual fluidity, especially among women. Even if you reject the possibility of change, however, and claim that homosexuality is inborn and immutable, how does that relate to civil rights? All of us reject pedophilia for many reasons, yet pedophiles claim that they were born that way, that they would never choose such a sexual orientation, and that they cannot change. Do we then grant them the “civil right” to their behavior because it is inborn and immutable? Or do we lower the age of consent to accommodate ephebophiles who are attracted only to young teenagers (and who also claim their orientation is inborn and immutable)? Why discriminate against them if our behavior and orientation can be justified based on being inborn and immutable?

“Children raised in same-sex households are no different than children raised in heterosexual households.”

A meta-analytical study by pro-gay researchers Stacy and Biblarz indicated that children raised in same-sex households were more prone to promiscuity, crossing gender lines, and same-sex attraction. To cite one example, they found that lesbian mothers had a feminizing effect on their sons and a masculinizing effect on their daughters. They also reported that “the adolescent and young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to have been more sexually adventurous and less chaste . . . in other words, once again, children (especially girls) raised by lesbians appear to depart from traditional gender-based norms, while children raised by heterosexual mothers appear to conform to them.” On a more personal note, Dawn Stefanowicz, raised by a gay father, wrote, “What makes it so hard for a girl to grow up with a gay father is that she never gets to see him loving, honoring, or protecting the women in his life.” Children do best with a mom and dad, but same-sex marriages guarantee that this possibility will never exist for children they raise.

“In the past, the Bible was used in America to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, just as it is now being used to suppress gays and lesbians.”

It is true that the Bible was misused to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, but it was actually the proper use of the Scriptures that fueled the anti-slavery and anti-segregation movements, while there are numerous verses in the Bible that speak in glowing terms of the importance of women. In fact, anthropologist Rodney Stark pointed out that one reason that Christianity spread so rapidly in the ancient world was because it was so egalitarian and so liberating for women. In contrast, there is not a single verse in the Bible that extols homosexual behavior, to the point that even the gay-affirming biblical scholar Walter Wink noted that, “The Bible is negative toward same-sex behavior, and there is no getting around it. ” He also stated that “Paul wouldn’t accept [a nonexploitative homosexual] relationship for a minute.”

“Giving us the right to marry would not affect the rights of those who differ with us, especially the rights of people of faith.”

The Washington Blade (May 30, 2008) asked, “Apart from state- or federally funded religious programs, could the legalization of same-sex marriage in California prevent priests and ministers from preaching that homosexuality is biblically forbidden? Could churches in time risk their tax- exempt status by refusing to marry gays? That remains to be seen and will likely result in a steady stream of court battles” (my emphasis). Catholic Charities in Boston dropped out of the adoption business because they were required by the state to place children in same-sex households; Elaine Photography in New Mexico was found guilty of discrimination for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony because of religious convictions; and a doctor in California was found guilty of refusing to artificially inseminate a lesbian woman so she and her partner could have a baby, again because of religious convictions, and despite the fact that this doctor personally referred the patient to another doctor. As predicted by lesbian legal scholar Chai Feldblum, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A just-released study by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has also found that over 350 separate state anti-discrimination laws would likely be affected by the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage.”

“It is a lie of the religious right that legalizing same-sex marriage will open the door to legalizing polygamy and incestuous relationships.”

Actually, polygamy involves a far less radical redefinition of marriage than does same-sex marriage, since marriage is fundamentally the union of a man and a woman more than it is the union of two people. Polygamy is also legal in much of the world and has been the accepted norm in many cultures throughout history, whereas same-sex marriage has never been the norm in any nation at any time in the past. Because same-sex marriage so radically redefines the nature of marriage, marriage certificates were changed in California after the Supreme Court’s decision in May to refer to “Partner A” and “Partner B” rather than bride and groom, while birth certificates in Spain now refer to “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” as opposed to Mother and Father. It should also be noted that pro-incest and pro-polygamy cases currently before courts in the USA and abroad are pointing to same-sex marriage rulings for support.

“There is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

The California Supreme Court, by a four-three vote, recently claimed to discover such a constitutional argument, claiming that everyone has a basic right “to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one’s choice,” yet there is not a single sentence in the Constitution that can be fairly construed to support this “right” for same-sex couples. Moreover, following the Court’s logic, there is no basis for refusing the “right” of two gay brothers to marry and “establish a legally recognized family,” and it is with good reason that justice Marvin Baxter wrote in his dissenting opinion, “I cannot join this exercise in legal jujitsu, by which the Legislature’s own weight is used against it to create a constitutional right from whole cloth, defeat the People’s will, and invalidate a statute otherwise immune from legislative interference.”

* * * * *

The bottom line is that this is not an issue of civil rights or constitutional rights; rather, it is an issue of right and wrong, and it is dangerously wrong to tamper with the historic and sacred institution of marriage, one that exists for the benefit of the family and the state, and one that forms the bedrock of human society. We do well not to tamper with our foundations! It is also a well-known fact that many gay activists have promoted same-sex marriage for years, knowing that it would be a major stepping stone for the complete normalization of homosexuality in society. The implications of this are enormous, and while we should have compassion for those who sincerely desire the “right” to same-sex marriage, we dare not alter the foundations of human society.

Finally, it is utterly hypocritical for gays and lesbians to call for tolerance, diversity, and inclusion and then to label as “hate-filled bigots” all sincere people of faith (or non-faith) who oppose same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds. Where is the tolerance, diversity, and inclusion? Why is the democratic process not enough? Could it be that those who espouse “tolerance” have the potential of being the most intolerant? Could it be that those speaking against “hate” are actually engaging in it?

It is no surprise, then, that today, as I write these words, protesters at a rally in Sacramento, California are holding up signs with slogans such as: Prop 8=American TalibanBan BigotsMajority Vote Doesn’t Matter; We Won’t Go Away; 52%=Nazi; Don’t Silence the Christians, Feed Them 2 the Lions, and lastly, Your Rights are Next. We have been forewarned!

Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus should adhere to the biblical injunction to overcome hatred with love and to conquer evil with good, reaching out to those who oppose us, sharing with them the message of forgiveness and transformation through the gospel, and standing firmly on our convictions, knowing that God’s ways are best.

We shall not be moved!



Spread the Word:
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Mixx
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter

Tags: , , , ,


Possibly Related Posts:

19 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. 1. Sibling marriage is indeed very different from same-sex marriage. Sibling marriage is considered unnatural because of the likelihood of genetic disorders resulting from the combination of too similar of DNA. This is not the case in same-sex marriage, even if a sperm-sperm or ovum-ovum fertilization process should be invented.

    2. Try putting it the other way. What if people wanted to pull their children out of schools when they taught about heterosexual marriage because of the Biblical equivalence of sex and marriage, and the sin that is inherent in sex? Talk to the child’s teacher if you have a problem with it, or send him or her to a different school. All people have rights. If you lived in Ancient Rome, you would have been hidden underground in a church, tortured and martyred to practice your faith. We all think that’s bad. We all shudder at the thought of the crucifixions of thousands of Christians in ancient times, and even at their having to live in secrecy. Well, now we have freedom of religion, so you are happy and free. And instead of turning around and sharing that love of Christ with your neighbours, you convert it to spreading the love of Christ only for those whom you love. Christ says love your enemy, does he not? And yet most of the right and the Christian society denies the minority of even their right to marry. Many churches will perform commonwealth same-sex marriages. A religious wedding is not necessary for the legal union of marriage. And you will have your opportunities to draft legislation about education, about the tax-exempt status of churches, etc. They are, in some ways, related to same-sex marriage, but they are not actually a part of proposition 8, nor 2 in Florida, nor 102 in Arizona.

    3. Neither the APA nor the APS define sexuality as disorders. They consider them natural and not to be changed. In fact, they highly recommend against attempting to change a person’s sexuality, as it is likely to be highly psychologically damaging. Statistics mean almost nothing. A test can prove anything, depending on how it is designed. Take a statistics course, please, before you attempt to analyze the results of any sort of study, particularly psychological studies. And listen to the experts on the subject, in the US and around the world.

    4. Difference makes our world more interesting, allows for advancement, and decrease group-think. There are also several studies that male children born to heterosexual parents are more likely to be effeminate and gay if their mothers use an authoritarian parenting style. Domestic abuse rates are also higher among heterosexual couples than among homosexual couples. On top of this, the law again says nothing about adoption, as I recall. And even without it, homosexual couples can have children. It’s not that difficult for a woman to get herself impregnated, nor for a gay male couple to find a woman too poor to take care of her own child who is willing to give the child to the gay couple rather than an orphanage, well known to be dangerous places for children to grow up. Look into the psychological development of children who grow up in orphanages. I am sure that even highly effeminate men would be preferable to most people than the severity of psychological disorders that frequently accompany orphanhood.

    5. The Bible is now being misused again, this time against homosexuality. Please read the Bible for yourself, and critically – not to criticise the Bible, but to understand what it does and does not say. There are many passages in which segregation, enslavement, or even execution of people of colour is called for. Is quoting this misuse of the Bible? In contrast, the Bible also has Christ save the life of a Roman soldier’s lover. Both were male. The people of Sodom were killed not for their homosexual relations but because they mistreated their guests. I apologise for not having exact quotes for you, but I do not have a Bible with me here, nor time to look things up online, especially given the frequency of false information such as is posted in this blog entry. There are also many Biblical criticisms of heterosexual relationships, particularly sex, and therefore the bearing of children.

    6. It would not diminish your rights whatsoever. Your preferences might encourage you to choose not to do things that you had done before, but you should not actually be denied any rights. Gay photographers are more required to photograph heterosexual couples than the other way around, and yet they are not even allowed to marry their significant other. You claim that the LGBT community will revoke your rights, and yet you will not allow them theirs. They have a right to call you bigots and hypocrites.

    7. From whence come your problems with polyamory? Christ is a God of love. Let us live together in peace and harmony, accepting one another and not discriminating based on our love of one another. Homosexual marriage will not necessarily lead to the legalisation of polyamorous nor incsestuous marriages. Those are separate laws, and separate concepts. As for the concept of the legalisation of same-sex marriage leading to zoophilic marriage, the idea is preposterous. How does marrying another human being of the same gender lead to marrying one’s dog? Dogs are not citizens. Dogs are not human. Dogs are not allowed to marry other dogs, nor will they be permitted to wed humans.

    8. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. If we do not have the right to be free to marry the person we love, we are denied liberty. If we are denied the right to marry the person we love, we are denied the pursuit of happiness. The rights of US citizens are already being taken away in the wake of the war in Iraq. Do more need to be denied?

    9. Same sex marriage is very much a civil rights issue and not a moral one. The morals of the United States concern bodily safety, freedom, and safety of personal property, all of which are granted only to the extent that they do not deny these rights to others. Christian morals are not and never were the basis for law in the United States. Separation of Church and State is one of the most important foundations on which this nation is built. Would you destroy that foundation in order to deny people the simple right of marriage? Marriage is traditionally a political and economic bond more than one of love. Recently, that trend is changing. People are wed in love matches, rather than politically favourable alliances. Homosexual marriage was not politically useful because it would lead to one too many or one too few heirs of a business or nation. This is no longer a problem, in the wake of love marriages. Indeed, even modern arranged marriages are rarely political, particularly in the US, but arranged by the personal interests of the parties involved, much as the dating site “Christian Singles” works.

    10. Yes, it is hypocritical for the LGBT community to hoist signs asking to deny your rights. However, the signs are primarily to dramatize, and the general public should be aware of this even as the Yes on 8 campaign used children’s education to dramatize beyond the point of reality their beliefs, even though they were separate from both the proposition and criticism of the fairness of law.

    11. I have grown up in church. My pastor would wed gay couples gladly, and wish their marriages well. He is the most loving, generous man I have ever met, but also knows his Bible and religion. He is open and accepting, spreads God’s love, and loves everybody he comes into contact with. He forgives us our transgressions, preaches the gospel, and stands by his convictions, but without stomping on the rights of others, only preaching Christ’s way and God’s way.

    12. Equality shall move, whether you are or not. We will move. We will love, and promote peace and freedom and equality.

  2. Jessica,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to respond at length. I’ll do my best to interact in detail with your post ASAP. But again, thanks for responding point by point.

  3. How am I supposed to think that considering someone as intelligent as you wrote this, that it is nothing more than an attempt to indoctrinate the ignorant to your agenda?

    “I have the right to marry the one I love!”

    Your case about the German brother and sister does sound familiar…but that’s because I read about it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with gay rights. Patrick and Susan are a headstrong couple in love, and living with very unusual circumstances. They are not a group of citizens being marginalized for biological conditions they have no control over. It has been scientifically proven (not religiously) that brothers and sisters are far more likely to have handicapped children, and further, the more “inbred” a family becomes the more likely and more severely the children will be handicapped. (Do I really need to back this one up? I imagine there are hundreds of sources from ancient royalties – blue bloods – to modern day controlled research.)

    But, if homosexuals do not have the right to marry the ones they love (unless a sibling or other blood relative) then why should heterosexuals?

    “It is an outright lie to claim that legalizing same-sex marriages will affect what children are taught in the schools.”

    What I have heard from school officials and others is that there are no plans to change sex-ed curriculum. The case you use as an example had nothing to do with sex education. Mr. Parker in this case wanted his child protected from any mention of such a thing as same sex marriage including remarks made by children living in same sex households about their normal family life.

    But like the circumstances in the case you mentioned, books about families will likely include more than just mom/dad/kid families. That would include single parent households, households where grandparents are raising the children and same sex parent households. This is because these families already exist in abundant example everywhere. Uneducated religious folk feel it is right to keep their children ignorant of the world around them. It does no service to the children that will be unprepared for the world they will have to live in. Unprepared for the people they will work next to every day.

    “This is a civil right issue no different than segregation. We are born this way and we cannot change.”

    Many black Americans have to deal with doubled intolerance for not only their skin color but their sexual orientation as well. You see? I can do that too, and with no less truth to my statement than you have to yours. One might choose their sexual relations in private, but they don’t choose their orientation. What’s more, human history and the animal kingdom have myriad examples of same sex relations throughout – more than enough to be considered normal activity. Just because your religion prohibits it, neither makes it wrong nor abnormal. It’s just wrong for you. You are not allowed to engage in homosexual activity. Not only am I offended by your intolerance but your need to foist it upon the rest of the nation no matter their religious beliefs.

    I would argue that Michael Jackson is ex-black, but I would also view it as a very unhealthy, self-loathing psychological problem that he should address. And that is what I think of “ex-gays” as well. And if studies are indicating more sexual fluidity then why would you want to counter that with more rigidity? That doesn’t make sense. Do you feel like you could be intimate with a man? Or (as I suspect) are you forcefully repulsed by the very thought? Some men feel exactly the same way about being intimate with a woman? Who are you to say they are wrong? Since you believe that God made man in his image, wouldn’t that mean that more fluid sexuality was on purpose? Wouldn’t that make it a beautiful thing? Why are you trying to second-guess your creator? From personal experience I can say that from my youth until about 35, while not intolerant of the sexualities of others, I was repulsed by the idea of me engaging in homosexual behavior. The older I get, the more curious and inclined I am to dabble with the same sex. I am a woman, so that one experience would back the science you mention. On the other hand, and if my suspicion is true, your personal experience of immutability would defy that science. a homosexual man who feels the same immutability?

    You continue to use the pedophile example to your detriment. It is so sophomoric and tiresome. First, pedophiles are almost always heterosexual identified. Second, overall, children are not mentally mature enough to make sexual choices, and adults have both the physical and psychological power to unfairly manipulate children into making unhealthy, damaging choices. Are you trying to claim that proponents of same sex marriage are trying to force adult heterosexuals into marriage? One would think that was a ludicrous question, but after reading your other arguments I fear it must be asked.

    Let me explain simply how this relates to civil rights. Homosexuals are a group of people. Homosexuals, as a group, were “given” the right to marry in California (civil marriage, not religious). That constitutional right to marry was then taken away from that group of people. That is discrimination! It is very clear and easy to understand. Churches may go on discriminating to their heart’s content, but the state and government should never be allowed to do so.

    The analysis you cite, Stacey and Biblarz only seems to show that children, both boys and girls, are more likely to be tolerant if raised by lesbians. While it said that young adult children raised by lesbians were more likely to consider or even engage in homosexual activity, they did not identify as homosexual any more than children raised by heterosexuals. Boys tended to be more nurturing and affectionate (shudder). Girls raised by lesbians tended to be more sexually adventurous and boys less so. That sounds like a refreshing change that I can live with given the messed up attitudes of boys when I was growing up as well as the unhealthy repression of girls.

    “In the past, the Bible was used in America to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, just as it is now being used to suppress gays and lesbians.”

    So it was misused then? It’s misused now too. That sentence is absolutely true. It is the Bible – a religious document – that is the soul purpose behind the intolerant and discriminatory machinations of this anti-civil-rights campaign. You can say that this is a Christian country (it isn’t, but a majority of its citizens identify as Christian) and you can say it was founded on Christianity (it wasn’t – it was founded on religious freedom), but there is written in our Constitution that there be a separation between Church and State (because the country was founded on religious freedom), and you have no right to force your religious beliefs on the whole nation. It is anti Constitutional and it is immoral. (on the other hand, Muslims can’t force their beliefs on you.)

    The Bible may not extol the virtues of homosexuality, but it does mention how you might be expected to address homosexuality and other sins: Matthew 7.1-5. Or maybe there was some Earth shattering, world saving snippet of info in one of those Gespels that Constantine elected to toss (that ex-pagan killer of wife and son, what can one expect?)

    “Giving us the right to marry would not affect the rights of those who differ with us, especially the rights of people of faith.”

    Priests and ministers will always be able to preach intolerance because they have the same freedom of speech that individuals have. And there is an easy solution to wipe out the worry of losing tax-exempt status by refusing to marry gays – remove a church’s right to perform civil marriages at all. Keep your religious marriages and have the state perform all civil marriages. That’s how they do it in England, and they don’t have this red herring issue. Why should churches be performing legally binding civil ceremonies. That seems like an unacceptable connection of church and state to me. No wonder we are having all these problems.

    You are concerned about potentially losing some rights or legal benefits, and your answer is to maintain the status quo of others not having them at all? Not very Christian of you.

    “It is a lie of he religious right that legalizing same sex marriage will open the door to legalizing polygamy and incestuous relationships.”

    Get over the incestuous already. You only included it to give weight to your real fear, that polygamy would run rampant. That fear is suspect! It is a thin veil for fear of other religions. But let me put your mind at ease. The insurance industry alone will prevent legal polygamy. They will put billions against that effort. And they surely have more money and more powerful lobbyists.

    “There is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage”

    Quoting that everyone has a basic right “to establish a legally recognized family with the person of one’s choice,” and claiming that one cannot construe support of same sex marriage there is ridiculous. If you are referring to the US Constitution, then there is not a single sentence that can be fairly construed to support the “right” for different sex couples to marry. If you are talking about the California Constitution then I must remind you that Article 1, Sec. 7.5 is very being challenged as I write. And it will be decimated: Sec 7, baby, equal protection.

  4. Nevada,

    I’m back from a ministry trip and plan to respond to you (and Jessica) ASAP. Thanks for taking the time to post here.

  5. Thank you, I look forward to your response.

  6. [...] Brown wrote in his article Is There a “Civil Right” to Gay “Marriage”? that “A just-released study by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has also found that over [...]

  7. I must admit, that I was not aware that any of this was taking place. In fact, I had to look up what Prop 8 was – but I’m sure you’ll excuse that seeing as I currently live in Berlin and am Welsh (I have no part in American politics or affairs per se.)

    It seems that a large number of problems in ‘democratic’ society, and I am speaking on an entirely non-esoteric way, stem from false concepts of democracy and related ideas. Many feel that democracy is being able to say what you like, when you like, about who you like. Freedom of speech is a thing which is freely misused.

    To those who champion the cause of a democratic world where the people rule through popular consensus, I would like to firstly point out that this is implausible. Said Old Abe, “Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people and for the people.” Herein lies our first problem: If the people group together to a percentage of say 43.9, and decide that anyone who is in the other 56.1 percent, is probably an enemy of democracy and should be killed/imprisoned or uh… disappeared, then does this give them the right to do it? After all, it is the democratic right of the people to choose how they lead themselves isn’t it?

    Of course, no rational person would allow this to happen would they? But in 1933, Adolf Hitler split the communist vote by imprisoning his enemies and then swept the board with 43.9 percent of the German vote. Democratic decision led to the murder of millions and set in motion a large chain of events that we are still being affected by today (but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.)

    The point I am making is not that if Homosexuals all over America gathered together we would see Fascism reign and another Shoah – that would be nonsensical. What I am saying, is that contrary to popular belief, a majority vote does not give legitimacy to a decision: right and wrong is always a black and white issue. What I am saying, is that a pro-civil partnership ruling is does not necessarily qualify itself as legitimate.

    If I make this point though I also have to, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for my own conscience, make the point that a ‘No’ vote on the subject of Homosexual Marriage does not make itself legitimate.
    I would be happy to discuss this in more detail. I hope that I spoke plainly and that I wrote understandably.

    Marc

  8. Marc,

    If I make this point though I also have to, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for my own conscience, make the point that a ‘No’ vote on the subject of Homosexual Marriage does not make itself legitimate.

    I couldn’t quite follow you here. Are you saying that gay marriage is or is not legitimate?

  9. Proverbs 14: 34
    Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

  10. Marcus,

    I’m actually not giving a judgement either way (although gay marriage is without question illegitimate.) I am however saying that if I say, “A majority vote in favour of gay marriage does not automatically make it (the decision) legitimate” then I must also say, “A majority vote against gay marriage does not automatically make it (the decision) legitimate.” It’s a theoretical problem and not an opinion.

    I agree with what Andrew wrote just above this reply. Hope that clears my point up for you somewhat?
    Marc

  11. [...] Michael Brown of the Coalition of Conscience and Brownsville Revival fame, recently raised the question of whether or not there is a civil right to gay marriage. Interesting [...]

  12. In fact, I’ve cleared up what I was talking about here (http://heknocks.com/?p=24)… even with a neat little diagram.

    He knocks,
    Marc

  13. Marc,

    Interesting diagram you created:



  14. Jessica, I apologize for the delay in responding to your lengthy post, but I do appreciate the time you took to write, and I hope you will recognize by the length of my post how seriously I took your arguments. I also noted by your spelling that you were not born (or, raised in your early years) in America. Are you an American citizen now?

    My responses follow each of your points.

    1. Sibling marriage is indeed very different from same-sex marriage. Sibling marriage is considered unnatural because of the likelihood of genetic disorders resulting from the combination of too similar of DNA. This is not the case in same-sex marriage, even if a sperm-sperm or ovum-ovum fertilization process should be invented.

    Jessica, I could use the tactic of the LGBT community and accuse you of “hate” towards incestuous couples since you want to deprive them of their “rights,” but that would only expose the vacuous nature of the “hate” accusation against people like me. The reason I oppose same-sex “marriage” has nothing to do with “hate,” just as the reason you oppose incestuous “marriage” has nothing to do with “hate.” I mention it, however, to illustrate the point about the emotionally-charged tactics used consistently by LGBT activists, specifically, calling all of who differ with them “hateful.”

    The bottom line, however, is that you actually supported my point: Not everyone has “the right to marry the one they love,” and marriage must take into consideration more factors than that, including potential reproduction and the wellbeing of children. That being said, those who support incestuous marriage could say: What about two gay brothers? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry? Or what if the brother and sister who want to marry are too old to have children? Shouldn’t they be allowed to marry? And why should two other people (not related) be allowed to marry if they have a genetic defect that could be passed on to their children? (Some of these arguments have actually been used by lawyers advocating for incestuous couples.) In fact, they could argue that at least they have the possibility of their union producing a child whereas homosexual couples have no possible way to produce their own offspring (meaning, between the two of them).

    But this not the time to get into these arguments in detail. So I will simply repeat: You supported my point by saying that not everyone has the alleged right to marry the person they love.

    2. Try putting it the other way. What if people wanted to pull their children out of schools when they taught about heterosexual marriage because of the Biblical equivalence of sex and marriage, and the sin that is inherent in sex? Talk to the child’s teacher if you have a problem with it, or send him or her to a different school. All people have rights. If you lived in Ancient Rome, you would have been hidden underground in a church, tortured and martyred to practice your faith. We all think that’s bad. We all shudder at the thought of the crucifixions of thousands of Christians in ancient times, and even at their having to live in secrecy. Well, now we have freedom of religion, so you are happy and free. And instead of turning around and sharing that love of Christ with your neighbours, you convert it to spreading the love of Christ only for those whom you love. Christ says love your enemy, does he not? And yet most of the right and the Christian society denies the minority of even their right to marry. Many churches will perform commonwealth same-sex marriages. A religious wedding is not necessary for the legal union of marriage. And you will have your opportunities to draft legislation about education, about the tax-exempt status of churches, etc. They are, in some ways, related to same-sex marriage, but they are not actually a part of proposition 8, nor 2 in Florida, nor 102 in Arizona.

    Jessica, I work with Christians in different nations who are being persecuted and threatened with death and imprisonment, and some of my close friends have suffered intensely for their faith through the years. I am quite sensitive to these issues, and I am also sensitive to issues concerning religious bigotry. And in point of fact, contrary to what you imply here, I spend a lot of time sharing the love of Christ with people who are “outside the fold” and who do not agree with my views. That’s why I reach out to them! The ministry that I lead in Concord is constantly training and sending people out to share the love of Christ with hurting people around the world, including many who vehemently reject our message. But in all candor, that has nothing to do with the point I was making, which is that, contrary to the claims of many gay activists, if same-sex “marriage” was legalized, it would affect what was taught in schools, plain and simple.

    You say, “What if people wanted to pull their children out of schools when they taught about heterosexual marriage because of the Biblical equivalence of sex and marriage, and the sin that is inherent in sex?” First, heterosexual marriage is the only form of marriage that has been known in virtually every society throughout world history. Marriage, by its very definition and purpose, is heterosexual and can only be heterosexual, and that is not just based on the Bible. That is based on the foundations of all human society from the beginning of time: A man and woman come together in a lifelong commitment to establish and raise a family together. People of the same sex were not designed to do that and cannot naturally reproduce. So, your argument has no moral or historical or sociological analogy of any kind. Also consider this: In certain societies in the past, homosexual practice was quite accepted (such as in much of ancient Greece and Rome), but no one thought of calling it “marriage,” and for good reason at that.

    As to your reference to “the sin that is inherent in sex,” I’m not sure what you’re referring to, since the Bible extols the beauties of sex within marriage.

    I would also point out that spreading the love of Christ does not mean giving tacit or explicit endorsement to things that are morally wrong. Rather, the love of Christ encourages us to tell people the truth, even if it hurts, just like a good doctor would do.

    3. Neither the APA nor the APS define sexuality as disorders. They consider them natural and not to be changed. In fact, they highly recommend against attempting to change a person’s sexuality, as it is likely to be highly psychologically damaging. Statistics mean almost nothing. A test can prove anything, depending on how it is designed. Take a statistics course, please, before you attempt to analyze the results of any sort of study, particularly psychological studies. And listen to the experts on the subject, in the US and around the world.

    I take it that “sexuality” in the opening line of your paragraph was a typo for homosexuality, so I have responded accordingly. First, the APA still defines GID (Gender Identity Disorder) as a disorder, as indicated by the very term used, yet that has not stopped gay activists from advocating for the “rights” of a boy who believes he’s a girl (and the reverse), even encouraging cross-dressing in elementary schools and the like. And before 1973, gay activists militantly rejected the APA’s classification of homosexuality as a disorder. So, it appears that the APA is not infallible, even according to gay activists. Second, many professionals within the APA felt that their 1973 decision was more political then scientific, ultimately breaking away and founding NARTH. Rather than just dismissing them, you should read their scientific literature and see why they do, in fact, say that homosexuality is neither inborn nor immutable. (www.narth.com) Third, scientific studies have been conducted for decades, right up to our day, demonstrating the possibility of change, and some of these studies have used extremely rigorous methodology. (I’d be happy to send you references if you’d like to research this more.) Fourth, even the APA has recognized the patient’s right to seek treatment for same-sex desires if those desires are, in fact, causing them distress. Fifth, and most importantly, “desires” are not the object of legislation, as Dr. Frank Turek recently pointed out in a Townhall article:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/FrankTurek/2008/11/26/the_preposterous_premise_for_gay_marriage

    4. Difference makes our world more interesting, allows for advancement, and decrease group-think. There are also several studies that male children born to heterosexual parents are more likely to be effeminate and gay if their mothers use an authoritarian parenting style. Domestic abuse rates are also higher among heterosexual couples than among homosexual couples. On top of this, the law again says nothing about adoption, as I recall. And even without it, homosexual couples can have children. It’s not that difficult for a woman to get herself impregnated, nor for a gay male couple to find a woman too poor to take care of her own child who is willing to give the child to the gay couple rather than an orphanage, well known to be dangerous places for children to grow up. Look into the psychological development of children who grow up in orphanages. I am sure that even highly effeminate men would be preferable to most people than the severity of psychological disorders that frequently accompany orphanhood.

    Actually, what same-sex marriages are missing is “difference”! That’s the beauty and purpose of marriage: Two different sexes come together in complimentary union, something that same-sex couples can never experience or offer. As to your argument that there are various parental settings that produce poor outcomes, I have no disagreement with that. But that is certainly not an argument for homosexual parenting! To the contrary, it is an argument against it, since same-sex couples guarantee that the child they raise will have either no father or no mother, and that is by design and intent and necessity, as opposed to by accident or misfortune. So, they guarantee a potential deficit, and this is certainly not something that the government should support and endorse. As for adoption, the goal of adoption is to make up for a lack, not create a new lack.

    I also find it interesting that you cite studies that confirm that environment and upbringing play a role in a child’s sexual development – something acknowledged by the APA as well – thereby confirming the fact that people are not “born gay.” Finally, the studies I have seen pointed to a higher rate of domestic violence among same-sex couples than among opposite-sex couples. Would you be kind enough to provide me with contrary data?

    5. The Bible is now being misused again, this time against homosexuality. Please read the Bible for yourself, and critically – not to criticise the Bible, but to understand what it does and does not say. There are many passages in which segregation, enslavement, or even execution of people of colour is called for. Is quoting this misuse of the Bible? In contrast, the Bible also has Christ save the life of a Roman soldier’s lover. Both were male. The people of Sodom were killed not for their homosexual relations but because they mistreated their guests. I apologise for not having exact quotes for you, but I do not have a Bible with me here, nor time to look things up online, especially given the frequency of false information such as is posted in this blog entry. There are also many Biblical criticisms of heterosexual relationships, particularly sex, and therefore the bearing of children.

    I think this paragraph struck me as the most interesting, since you encourage me to “read the Bible for [myself], and critically . . . .” Perhaps you’re not aware of my background, but I have been carefully studying the Bible for the last thirty-seven years and earned a Ph.D. from New York University in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures to aid me in studying the Bible. In fact, I did all my studies in secular universities, never attending seminary or Bible College, which means that I only studied with critical scholars. That does mean that I am not right at every point, but it certainly means that I have studied the Bible for myself!

    With respect to your specific points, I mean you no insult, but I must tell you that in this case, you are the one who has failed to study the Scriptures carefully and critically. I do not want to sound harsh, but it is a complete and total myth that Jesus saved the life of a Roman soldier’s lover, and there is not a respected scholar of the Gospels who would argue for such a thing. In fact, the case of which you speak (Matt 8:5-13) would actually mean that Jesus endorsed sexual slavery of a minor (!), since the standard gay argument was that the Greek word used for servant, pais, can sometimes mean “boy lover,” referring to a boy taken captive by a soldier for sexual purposes. (Jesus healed the man’s servant, not his boy lover; in the event that you need more evidence for this, see http://robgagnon.net/articles/homosexCenturionStory.pdf. )

    It is also a complete and total myth that, e.g., the Bible calls for the “execution of people of colour,” among other charges you make, neither does the Bible call for segregation. Please find me even one passage – let alone the “many” you allege are there – that advocates the “execution of people of colour,” or find me one sentence in the New Testament that advocates segregation. Sadly, you have heard things from other people or read them in books or online, but they are not found in the Bible, plain and simple.

    If you’re interested in a detailed lecture that gets into all this, I’d be happy to send you a DVD at no charge. (I could get into more specifics that you raise, but it’s sufficient to expose some of the most egregious statements you make. Once more, I do not mean to insult you, but you raised these issues here in a public forum, and they need to be corrected.) You make reference to the “frequency of false information such as is posted in this blog entry” (meaning my article), but you have yet to point out a single false statement. I would be happy to correct any falsehood should you be able to point them out.

    6. It would not diminish your rights whatsoever. Your preferences might encourage you to choose not to do things that you had done before, but you should not actually be denied any rights. Gay photographers are more required to photograph heterosexual couples than the other way around, and yet they are not even allowed to marry their significant other. You claim that the LGBT community will revoke your rights, and yet you will not allow them theirs. They have a right to call you bigots and hypocrites.

    As stated in my article, the rights of Christians and other people of faith have already been challenged and even taken away, including the rights of free speech and the right of conscience. In fact, new examples of this come up on a regular basis. As to your point about gay photographers, I am not aware of a single case on file anywhere in America where a gay photographer chose not to do a wedding because it was male-female and was sued by the bride and groom over it. Sadly, the opposite has now taken place, and the end is not in sight.

    It’s unfortunate that you find it necessary to echo the “bigots and hypocrites” charge, but as I pointed out in response to your first paragraph, you have good reason to oppose incestuous marriage, and it would be wrong for me to call you a bigot and hypocrite (or hateful). Yet you refuse to consider the possibility that I (and many others) have many good reasons to oppose same-sex “marriage.” Please step back and ask if you are guilty of a double standard here, or, worse still, if there is bigotry or hypocrisy in your attitude towards me. Could that be possible?

    7. From whence come your problems with polyamory? Christ is a God of love. Let us live together in peace and harmony, accepting one another and not discriminating based on our love of one another. Homosexual marriage will not necessarily lead to the legalisation of polyamorous nor incsestuous marriages. Those are separate laws, and separate concepts. As for the concept of the legalisation of same-sex marriage leading to zoophilic marriage, the idea is preposterous. How does marrying another human being of the same gender lead to marrying one’s dog? Dogs are not citizens. Dogs are not human. Dogs are not allowed to marry other dogs, nor will they be permitted to wed humans.

    Do you really want to support polyamory in the name of Jesus and in the name of love of God? And can you do this in the same post in which you reference the Scriptures? Jesus emphatically taught that the only sexual union God accepted and sanctioned was that of a man and woman joining together in marriage. He had a different name for what you call “polyamory,” namely, adultery. That is what our Savior and our God of love had to say!

    As to the zoophilic argument, I didn’t raise it myself, but since you did, a simple answer will suffice: The historic definition and marriage, along with the dictionary definition of marriage, is “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” Marriage, by definition, is the union of a MAN and a WOMAN, not the union of two consenting adults. Once you redefine “marriage” – which is what you want to do – why not redefine it further? The essential ingredients needed for marriage are not TWO PEOPLE but A MAN AND A WOMAN. If you want to change the ingredients to TWO PEOPLE, then why not a brother and sister or father or daughter, or, why not redefine it to three people, or maybe to a person and any living thing they choose? I’m the one saying, “Don’t tamper with the foundations of human society!” You’re the one say, “Let’s open the door.” Once you open it, anything can happen.

    8. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. If we do not have the right to be free to marry the person we love, we are denied liberty. If we are denied the right to marry the person we love, we are denied the pursuit of happiness. The rights of US citizens are already being taken away in the wake of the war in Iraq. Do more need to be denied?

    Again, I refer you to Frank Turek’s article that I referenced above, in which he points out that we do not have a “civil right” (or “constitutional right”) to the fulfillment of all of our desires. Does the pedophile have the “constitutional right” to pursue happiness with children? Does the serial killer have the “constitutional right” to pursue happiness by murder? The very questions are absurd! We have already established that you yourself do not grant every human being the “right to marry the one they love” (see paragraph one, above), and I’m sure that you do not believe that, for example, a rapist has the “constitutional right” to attack you if that will bring him happiness. God forbid! The point is that laws are passed to inhibit the expression of some of our desires (like the desire to drink and drive), because not all our desires are good and healthy or in the best interest of society, and “gay marriage” is neither good nor healthy nor in the best interest of society.

    9. Same sex marriage is very much a civil rights issue and not a moral one. The morals of the United States concern bodily safety, freedom, and safety of personal property, all of which are granted only to the extent that they do not deny these rights to others. Christian morals are not and never were the basis for law in the United States. Separation of Church and State is one of the most important foundations on which this nation is built. Would you destroy that foundation in order to deny people the simple right of marriage? Marriage is traditionally a political and economic bond more than one of love. Recently, that trend is changing. People are wed in love matches, rather than politically favourable alliances. Homosexual marriage was not politically useful because it would lead to one too many or one too few heirs of a business or nation. This is no longer a problem, in the wake of love marriages. Indeed, even modern arranged marriages are rarely political, particularly in the US, but arranged by the personal interests of the parties involved, much as the dating site “Christian Singles” works.

    Actually, Christian morals played a large role in many of our laws in this country, even though American was never a truly “Christian nation.” Yet most of the non-religious and Deist founders of our country had a healthy respect for religion, and, in particular, an admiration for the moral standards of Jesus. Moreover, the issue of the separation of Church and State is one that has been greatly misunderstood in recent years, as noted by Yale law professor Stephen Carter who wrote: “The wall of separation of church and state is not there to protect the state from the church; it is there to protect the church from the state. It stands as a divide to preserve religious freedom. And one needs to protect the church from the state because the latter will utilize its enormous powers to do what the state has always done – either subvert the religion or destroy it. If we continue our slide toward a state that breaches the wall of separation whenever it is convenient, then I worry about the great risk to religious freedom.”

    In any case, I am not trying to impose the views of the Church on the society. I am acting and writing and voting as an individual citizen, just as you are. Do you want to take that freedom from me, or from the millions who voted in California?

    More importantly, even without the Bible or religion, there are many strong reasons to stand against the redefinition of marriage and to uphold natural marriage only. One of my colleagues noted to me just a few of the reasons why the state should only uphold natural marriage:

    Marriage customs and marriage roles differ cross-culturally, but marriage is consistently the public recognition of a sexual relationship between male and female who together care for the children born to them.

    Marriage is a pre-legal institution; the state recognizes it because it provides what the state cannot provide for itself–the next generation of upstanding citizens.

    Marriage gives a child the gift of both his biological parents.

    Similarly, the reasons against same-sex “marriage” stem from these.

    It is unlikely that marriage would have become a vital institution if men and women did not procreate sexually. Government does not protect or recognize all sexual relationships, in part because they are unnecessary to state purpose.

    Homosexual coupling does not produce children, and children are central to the purpose of marriage.

    If marriage is redefined in law to include same-sex couples, it creates a homosexual “family.” By definition, the structure of that “family” says that either male or female is unnecessary.

    A child parented by a homosexual couple is intentionally either motherless or fatherless; a wise and compassionate society does not intentionally remove a child from his or her biological parents.

    I could add to this list at length, but you must remember that we are talking about the State recognizing and sanctioning something, and there is no good reason for the State to do this for same-sex “marriage,” while there are many excellent reasons not to do it. People can love who they want, but marriage must mean one thing and only one thing.

    10. Yes, it is hypocritical for the LGBT community to hoist signs asking to deny your rights. However, the signs are primarily to dramatize, and the general public should be aware of this even as the Yes on 8 campaign used children’s education to dramatize beyond the point of reality their beliefs, even though they were separate from both the proposition and criticism of the fairness of law.

    The difference is that the Yes on 8 people used accurate information about children’s education, without exaggeration – no matter what anyone alleges and no matter how much they accuse the Yes side of lying – whereas some in the LGBT community have used disinformation and misinformation and would be thrilled to remove the rights of God-honoring people to hold to and practice their faith, or even vote in accordance with their moral convictions. Remember also that within the last few months in California, first grade kids were pulled out of class to attend their teacher’s lesbian “wedding,” while in another elementary school, there was a gay-advocacy day (with no parental notification) and one teacher had his kindergarten class fill out gay advocacy cards! The Yes on 8 ads were not even this dramatic, yet they caused an outrage in the LGBT community. Cannot gay activists face the truth?

    11. I have grown up in church. My pastor would wed gay couples gladly, and wish their marriages well. He is the most loving, generous man I have ever met, but also knows his Bible and religion. He is open and accepting, spreads God’s love, and loves everybody he comes into contact with. He forgives us our transgressions, preaches the gospel, and stands by his convictions, but without stomping on the rights of others, only preaching Christ’s way and God’s way.

    I ask you then, would your pastor marry that German brother and sister? Or would he “stomp on the rights” of a grown man to have a consensual relationship with a young teenage boy? If you say, “But that would be an abusive relationship!”, they would say, “We love each other!” If you say, “But there are laws against having sex with minors!”, they would say, “But those are antiquated laws based on outmoded Christian views. We demand our rights! We’re in love!”

    You see, Jessica, all of us make certain moral choices and hold to certain moral standards, yet you judge me as a bigot and hypocrite because my views are different than yours. Yet I can support every moral stand I take with the clear testimony of Scripture and based on the love of God, and I remind you that the same Jesus who forgave the woman caught in adultery also said to her, “Go and sin no more.”

    What is truly enlightening is that you commend your pastor for standing by his convictions and yet criticize me for standing by mine. As I encouraged you earlier, please step back and think about these things, getting past the emotional connection you feel to the homosexual community – which in itself is not wrong – and examining the issues objectively. If you feel you have already done that, then perhaps you can at least read through the links I provided so as to examine the issues more carefully.

    12. Equality shall move, whether you are or not. We will move. We will love, and promote peace and freedom and equality.

    Not all movement is good, and we have seen the degeneration of the family and the degeneration of morals for several decades now – all because we moved away from solid, family, moral foundations. To the extent we can stay firmly planted on those timeless principles – principles laid out in the Scriptures – we will make ourselves relevant to this generation and to the generations that follow. Long-term, positive social transformation remains my commitment and goal, but it will happen by rediscovering what we left behind rather than seeking to undermine the foundations of human society in the name of freedom and equality.

  15. [...] Is There a “Civil Right” to Gay “Marriage”? [...]

  16. The action taken to national disaster is great but it’s a real shame that so many citizens take advantage of the sad situations.

    I mean everytime there is an earthquake, a flood, an oil spill – there’s always a group of heartless people who rip off tax payers.

    This is in response to reading that 4 of Oprah Winfreys “angels” got busted ripping off the system. Shame on them!
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/08/19/crimesider/entry5251471.shtml

  17. the oil spill in Mexico would surely be one of the greatest environmental disasters for this year.,`-

  18. Dr. Brown,

    Thank you for the well written article and very well written rebuttal in the comments.  It has been a while since I read your work, but I am fully enjoying playing catch up.  I find I am constantly challenged by your arguments.

  19. First-class news it is without doubt. My mother has been looking for this update.

Leave Comment