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February 27, 2012


What exactly are the bad things that government is protecting “the family” (whose family?) from by keeping same-sex marriage illegal? And which families are being so protected? Greg’s family? Gay couples raising children? Gay couples without children? All of the above? Which type of family above will have its proper functioning undermined if gay folks start marrying each other?


There is nothing illegal in redefining what marriage is, for yourself. However, there is something wrong about redefining what marriage is for everybody else and then forcing a representative government to make an official policy, which is supposed to represent my view on marriage, that is not representative of the view of the majority of the represented public, including myself. When you redefine marriage in this way, you also functionally redefine government to be, not a representative government, but a misrepresentative government as it misrepresents the views of its constituency. It says something about me and the people around me that is simply a lie. Maybe you like someone lying about you at the highest levels of government, but I don't like it at all. How would you like me to spread lies about you?

Why should the govt restrict marriages two only two individuals - hetero or homo -sexual? Why does the govt have an interest in this? Please answer.

I would actually take one step back even further and ask how does the gov. "protect" marriage? Tax benefits?

I asked the questions I did simply because Koukl’s remarks remind me of those who have “fabricated monsters in order to fight them,” as Leibniz put it in his Theodicy. In the video Koukl suggests that same-sex marriage would wreak harms on society, harms that government protects “the family” from by keeping same-sex marriage illegal. I’m simply wondering who exactly is going to be harmed if gay folks start marrying each other. Is Koukl’s family going to be harmed? Are gay couples not raising children going to be harmed? Are gay folks raising children going to be harmed? Are the children being raised by gay folks going to be harmed by their parents having the rights and benefits that go with marriage? Are the children not being raised by gay folks going to be harmed? Who exactly should be thrown into a panic at the thought that gay people have such a radical agenda that they might succeed in marrying each other?

My question is posed in order to clarify Koukl’s view, something that hardly obliges me to get distracted by discussions about the norms of representative government (which went entirely unmentioned in the video) or the merits of granting the rights and privileges of marriage to polygamous families.

Hi Malebranche,
It seems to me that the video actually is about representative government and its role in adhering to or respecting cultural norms. Whether or not this should be the case might be a question, or whether or the cultural standard is a good one might be a question, but it looks like you are the one causing the distraction. It usually looks like that to me, of course.
But if you are really so concerned about what harm Koukl is referring to, as your game of 20 questions would imply, then you could probably have a look around the blog for that information, no?

The biggest harm would first come to the people who are actively involved in samesex practices.
The affirmation of these practices as "equal" or as harmless/harmful as heterosexual practices would mean that more and more young people would die an early and unnecessary death. Do you think that legalizing drugs like Marijuana or the legalization of alcohol consumption would make the effects of these consumptions less harmful? We do not change the effect by changing legal definitions. Homosexual active men account for 1 to 4% of our population. They account for over 70% of all new HIV infections. I don't even want to go in all the other STDs. And now we should tell our kids to not worry and just go ahead if they feel a sexual attraction towards their own gender?
That's like telling them drinking OJ is equal to drinking vodka, that being high on pot is great and fun and acceptable and less harmful than cigarettes?
Why don't you go and visit a hospital in San Fran, DC or New York and check out the reality of "samesex America"? A REAL typical homosexual active man is NOT a 40year old college Prof. who just wants to marry his long-term boyfriend. That’s nothing but the "Marlboro Man" in America's reality. The real "typical" homosexual active man is 17, black and dying slowly in a hospital bed somewhere in Georgia. ....but hey, ....who wants to talk reality, when we try to sell a bag of lies? ....unfortunately for our society, we "like" to be lied to. Who wants to be bothered with reality, if I could just look the other way and let People do their thing? It worked with slavery, it worked with abortion ....and unfortunately, it will prob. work with homosexuality. It's not the first repeat of history and it won't be the last.
....please let me know if you like to hear a few more "bad things" ...

I understand and support Mal's point. If Greg's argument is that "when things vital to the proper functioning of humanity are destroyed then something bad happens to humanity". It would seem, then, that Greg is obliged to show either that heterosexual marriage is vital to the proper functioning of humanity or that something bad happens to humanity when it is destroyed or weakened. If Greg or any of us cannot do this, then Mal seems perfectly correct to deem the argument invalid.

Now for the important follow-up question. What would be sufficient evidence that heterosexual marriage is vital or that humanity is weakened? Heck, they're still testing Einstein's theories of relativity 100 years later. Moreover, these are highly integrative issues. They are not easy to tease out and examine empirically.

Finally, let me end with this thought. Since heterosexual marriage has been the norm across various cultures and through time, then perhaps those that wish to change the status quo are obliged to show that inclusion of homosexual marriage would benefit society or is a human right

Everyone gets Mal's point. But the question was "why should government have anything to do with marriage, shouldn't that just be left up to the church?"
Whether or not Gregs's view is the one the government ought to support, , or whether or not his desires represent the most beneficial outcome is a separate question (worthy of debate) from "why do we expect the government to act in this case?". And he has made that case elsewhere.

Daron, you are correct in saying the question was "why should government have anything to do with marriage, shouldn't that be left to the church?" Greg's position is "yes". Greg then goes on to explain why his position is reasonable. To do this he makes an argument. Mal simply pointed out that he/she doesn't find the argument sound. I simply agree with Mal's point that Greg did not ground this argument in evidence. I agree that if Greg, you, or I are going to continue to use this argument that we might want to roll up our intellectual sleeves and do some heavy lifting.

My last point was that I don't think that only heterosexual marriage advocates are obliged to ground their argument in evidence. I find the "where's the beef?" argument rings hallow when nothing of substance is offered by those asking the question.

Greg then goes on to explain why his position is reasonable. To do this he makes an argument.
But his argument is about what government should reflect with regard to a society's values. His secondary argument is about the natural teleology of marriage versus redefinition and its foundational role in society.
. Mal simply pointed out that he/she doesn't find the argument sound.
Actually, Malebranche simply missed the point of the argument, as he always does, distracted from it with a handful of questions, and then made claims about his own commentary vis the video. He did so without even so much as acknowledging the point Greg made, and then calling references back to that point (and the one about marriage's teleology) distractions and implying that they had nothing to do with the video.

Again, if Malebranche really cared what harm Greg might be alluding to he could search this blog for "same sex marriage". Or he could search his memory as he has been pot-shotting these posts for years. In fact, given the standards of argument that he wants to foist upon STR, he ought to just sit down and make the case about harm to the institution for Greg.

I completely agree with your thought about assigning the burden to those who want to change the status quo.

Daron, you and I do not see Greg's video the same way. I just went back and listened to it again and this is his broad argument as I hear it:

Question - "Why do we expect government to keep marriage holy?"

point 1) I don't expect government to keep marriage holy.
Point 2) the community has something to say about marriage.
Point 3) Community is made up of smaller units called families.
Point 4) government is by the community and for the good of the community.
Point 5) the good of the community equals the good of the family.

Greg then goes off on how marriage comes from natural teleology (define or discover)

Point 6) it is good for government to enforce principles for institutions that are foundational.
Point 7) family is a foundational institution because it is vital to the proper functioning of humanity.
Point 8) when things vital to the proper functioning of humanity are destroyed then something bad happens to humanity.

I believe that Greg's whole argument, as it is formulated, rests on point 8, and to date, we don't have many, if any, good evidence that this is indeed the case. I believe the evidence is out there, but someone needs to put some time and effort into looking and compiling that evidence so that it is compelling.

Thanks for that summary, Brian. I quite agree with it.
The principle through point 4 holds regardless of the validity of the specifics of point 8 (or 5 and 7 for that matter); government has a right, if not a duty, to represent the community, to strive for its well-being, and to protect its foundational institutions.
In fact, the way you've stated it, point 8 seems pretty obvious on its face, but I think it is not exactly what you want to be claiming. It's practically tautological that "when things vital to the proper functioning of humanity are destroyed then something bad happens to humanity." At least it is quite intuitive and I think the onus would be on the one disputing this claim to make a case.

As through the first 4 points, the principle holds for point 6, regardless of the truth of 5, or 7, or an amended point 8 .
This is for the government to do and not merely for the church or other institutions.
5 and 7 are separate contentions which are fairly-well accepted without having to supply any additional argumentation - especially in a video based upon the premise of answering questions within a a couple of minutes.

So regardless of the evidence that SSM would undermine marriage, and the family, and society, Greg's point holds - government can, and should do what is in the best interests of the society it represents. If this means protecting the family and doing what is best for marriage then it is within its rights and duties to do so.
Marriage and family ought to be protected, by the government, from obvious harms or threats. I will presume we can agree that this statement would assume several caveats which would have practical implications.

Your question, then, is whether or not it is true that by abandoning the discovered truth of marriage, and redefining it so as to include SS couples, will cause harm.
The principle holds regardless, but, granted, this premise is assumed in the video. As I said, you can find STR's support for this final premise by searching this blog.

Actually, I would like to clarify that what I am referring to above takes our current government(s) as given, with their current level of intrusion and imposition in this matter. I'm not convinced that, morally-speaking, this is a civil matter at all or that it is any of the government's business,

In respect of people from other cultures and religions from around the world who may view this post and want to comment, can we define exactly what it means to keep marriage holy,and then explain the logic behind having any sort of expectancy for a secular government to keep marriage holy?

I understand upholding standards to protect the family and the community,but when we speak of keeping something "holy",that's a very serious spiritual issue. Holiness supercedes just putting together a bunch of laws,rules and regulations. For example,in Christianity,holiness involves consecration and spiritual separation. I'm pretty sure most religions share similar concepts about holiness. I was just responding to the question: Why do we expect government to keep marriage holy? So in the context of holiness,how are secular governments even mentioned to be expected to keep marriage holy? Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing. Isn't keeping something holy more than just a group coming together to put a bunch of laws together? I like some of the points being made here but I don't see anything that deals specifically of what it means to keep a marriage "holy". Keeping something holy would obviously be along the lines of some sort of spiritual enlightment or special allegiance to a higher calling in God through consecration and spiritual separation. If government should keep something holy,shouldn't government itself be holy in some way? Just to be clear,I'm only applying this scenario to "secular" governments. I don't have a problem with the whole issue but when "holiness" is mentioned in whatever context,it takes a more deeper meaning. I don't know if any one knows what I mean...

Frank Turek's Book, "Correct Not Politically Correct; How same-sex marriage hurts everyone," is an excellent resource on the harms of homosexual behavior on society. Also see his "Legislating Morality" co-authored with Norman Geisler.

If two guys can't form a family, then. . .

* the church is not a family
* there no such thing as the family of God
* there is no band of brothers
* sisterhoods are meaningless
* adopted children really aren't part of a family
* singles are truly alone regardless how much they claim they're a member of some surrogate family

The good these things foster is not worth supporting because they aren't natural. We need to fight them both legally and culturally because there is only one kind of family, so stop trying to redefine it!

The problem is that once you give government the ability to declare one form of marriage right and another wrong, you give them the ability to then change that declaration down the road. You have given government the authority to make such a declaration. In reality, marriage is not an institution of man, but of God; government has no right to say anything about marriage; its a matter between man and God. Otherwise this same government can legislate that gay marriage is legal and force Christians to perform gay marriages at threat of jail time. Government's role then is a restricted one: protect the rights of the citizens. Government is supposed to intervene in the case that a homosexual would try to threaten a Christian into performing his/her marriage. Its a matter of authority, and when it comes to gay marriage, the federal government has no authority.

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