IS THERE A “CIVIL RIGHT” TO GAY “MARRIAGE”?
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 Their attorney argues that the law against a brother and sister marrying “is out of date and it breaches the couple’s civil rights.”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 Taliban; Ban Bigots; Majority 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!
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