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« First-Century Synagogue Discovered in Magdala | Main | George Cuvier – Zoologist, Biologist, and Christian »

May 28, 2014


Thank you for an interesting post. But what about heterosexual marriages that, for whatever reason, don't produce children? Or homosexual couples who, through adoption or previous relationships or other means, do raise children together? Permanence is created by commitment to the marriage, not by children -- after all, having children doesn't stop many couples from divorcing.

News flash: Somewhere around half of heterosexual marriages are impacted by non-monogamy.

Dan Savage is open about it, while most straight guys lie about it and cover it up. If anything, I'd say the former is "better," because at least the partners are honest about expectations.

I say with great sorrow, no.

This is such a typical conservative overreaction. If you're married, your marriage vows are completely unaffected by straight or gay people who cheat. You still have the ability to be faithful to those vows.

She said, 'will society flourish'? That is a question about society, not about the happiness of a couple. Saying that adultery does not affect others around you is naive at best. Adultery effects the following people: children, parents, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. etc. brgulker, if what you say is true, and half of marriages are effected by non-monogamy, then that would explain why our society is increasingly sicker, why young 22 year-old kids lash out and kill people, why so many children are growing up with problems and issues, and why our society is unraveling at the seams. You might think otherwise, but what I see is a widening of the gap between rich and poor, and an increasingly anguished culture and people, a society that is violent, selfish, and trite. This is because the family unit has become dysfunctional and we have listened to lies for too long.


Your point has basically been made by at least some members of all societies in all of human history.
By so many measures, our society today is doing great and has never been better.
Personally, I tend to see the glass way more than half full. Fear and anger is ok, but its a limited and I think inaccurate view.

An analogy I thought of while reading this which might work for those people who say “well whatever, I don’t care if the definition of marriage changes” could go like this:

1) Ok, so you don’t care about marriage – what do you care about? What do you take pride in and love to do?

2) I love baseball. I am a pitcher.

1) Ok, so you love baseball.

Well I think that baseball should be played this way: Instead of home plate being where you score, any ball popped up in the outfield is one run earned. And instead of three strikes you’re out, I want five chances. Want to play a baseball game with me this way?

2) No way – I don’t want to have to pitch 5 strikes to get you out at the plate. And I don’t want all those runs scored off me!

1) But this is how I play the game – it’s still baseball, just my version, my definition.

2) No – that is not baseball. Baseball was created a long time ago, and the rules are the rules.

1) Exactly. My definition of baseball can’t work with yours. It takes away from the pride and the love you have for the game. It can only have one definition. This is how I feel about marriage.

In addition to my previous comment:

So #1 will continue to play his game and #2 will continue to play his, but can we agree that they cannot both be called baseball?

Dear friends and fellow Americans:

Yes indeed, same-sex marriage is a world-view issue...Now more than ever people in general, and Christians in particular, need to understand this. It is not a LOVE is a TRUTH issue. If you believe that two men or two women is a marriage, you might as well say 2+ 2=5...which is what Big Brother tried to force the hero to believe in "1984."
P.S. Men have penises..women have vaginas...any questions?

"If you're married, your marriage vows are completely unaffected by straight or gay people who cheat"

Not sure that this was the point of the article. The point is that society will be affected by this, not necessarily me individually. And, even then, when society is affected (by the pain of divorce, fatherless children, etc.), you and I are affected individually as well in direct and indirect ways.

If anything I'd say its not so much a conservative over-reaction as a liberal under-reaction to the reality of what will happen.

Darth Dutch

What are these folks shooting for? Here's your answer:

'... a sex-positive, body-affirming compact between two adults that allows for a wide range of intimate and emotional experience. Maybe no one will be the “husband” (as in, animal husbandry) and no one the chattel. Maybe instead of jealousy, non-monogamous couples will cultivate “compersion” to take pleasure in their partners’ sexual delight.'

That's not marriage - that's hook-up culture.

Marriage is a declining presence in America. In 1960, 72% of Americans over the age of 18 were married. In 2010, 51% of Americans over the age of 18 were married. The decline in marriage will most likely continue in the United States, as it already has in Europe, into the 40%s? 30s?, even 20s? At some point the decline will level off, probably at a higher rate in the US than in Europe. But there is little doubt, marriage is a declining presence and influence in the United States, and in the Western World generally. This is the reality into which the acceptance of same-sex marriage as emerged.

According to a 2012 Pew study, The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families, 39% of respondents agree that marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 1978 when only 28% answered in the affirmative when asked by Time Magazine. In 2012, 44% of 18-29 year olds responded “yes,” while only 32% of those over the age of 65 did. 46% of unmarried people answered “yes,” while 55% of those cohabitating answered “yes.” More Americans, especially among the young, now believe that marriage has become obsolete. These are the Americans who support same-sex marriage at the highest rates.

In the 2012 election, 39% of voters were unmarried, as compared to 24% in 1972. Marriage, and married people, are declining as an influence in America. That is a major reason why there is less objection today to same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is not the cause of the decline in marriage, it is a symptom of an already existing trend, at least 50 years in the making, away from honor and respect for marriage in our culture.

In the United States in 1960, 5.3% of births were to unwed mothers. In 1980, the number was just under 20%. In 2012, 40.7% of births were to unwed mothers. Is it any wonder that, today, when 2 out 5 children are born to unwed mothers, many people have lost the association between having children and being married?

This is the reality from which same-sex marriage has emerged . . . marriage less prominent and influential within our culture and child-rearing less associated with marriage. When marriage is less frequent and respected within our culture, and is considered obsolete by many, is it any wonder that the redefinition of marriage has become more acceptable? With respect to the state of marriage in the Western World, and related to the notion that sexual expression is a worldview issue, the acceptance of same-sex marriage is not an emergence from positive trends, it is a reflection of negative ones.

Maribeth makes mistakes in thinking that are typical for this topic. The central problem (s)he has is not seeing the distinction between the essence of marriage and the actual outcomes. Standards are different than how people may achieve those standards. If marriage has a standard (and everyone argues that it does. If you don't, then it does not exist) then some will achieve it and other won't. Some are capable of achieving it, and others are strictly incapable of achieving it.

Same sex marriage is an ontological impossibility, primarily because it cannot create children. Children have a right to their biological mother and father, and any purposeful denial of that right is to be avoided. Same sex marriages will either create children that will, by design, be denied their mother and father, or it will adopt children into a home without a mother and father.

From that one aspect (and there are others) you can see that the one of the standards of marriage is unachievable from the onset. This should not be controversial. We do not think it unjust if persons are barred from many activities if they do not meet a standard for the activity. For example, you can't be a soldier or firefighter if you aren't physically capable of performing the duties of those jobs.

The argument that "we can change the standards of marriage because people don't live up to the standards" does not follow. It is as illogical as saying "we can reduce the standards of what crimes are, because people obviously commit crimes".

Either a standard exists or it does not. If it does exist, then it must be defended as a standard (same sex marriage proponents do a poor job of this, IMO). If a standard does not exist, then the debate is useless because we are arguing about something that does not exist.

James, saying that the standard of marriage is the ability of a heterosexual couple to produce biological children leaves a lot of committed couples out in the cold. I agree that there are "duties" involved in marriage, but not all couples can -- or should -- have children, even if the couple is one man and one woman. Procreation does not have to be the ultimate goal of every marriage. More important is the selfless commitment of the couple to their union and their God.

Why would God or anyone else need to tell us that homosexual sexual relations are wrong? Is it not self-evident by the very design of our human reproductive and digestive systems? Human beings are male and female by design. We are made to function sexually as a complementary pair. To deny this and seek to establish another standard is dangerous. There can be no other standard of sexual union that equals the male/female bond. All men are created equal, but not all sexual unions. The commitment of a couple is not as important to the state/society as the fact that when a man and a woman engage in sexual intercourse they can produce another human being. The state/society has a compelling interest in promoting the conditions that normally produce healthy, well adjusted, natural born citizens. The father and mother have a compelling interest in the health and longevity of their children and their grandchildren. Children have a compelling interest in the commitment and complementary gender, sexuality and psychology of their parents. Our humanity, gender, marriage, and sexual reproduction are well designed blessings from our Creator. When these are honored and held sacred, our state/society will also be blessed. When they are disregarded and diluted, our state/society will suffer. BTW - When have we or any other state/society benefitted from sexual freedom and licentiousness? Since I have lived here in the SF-Bay Area since 1968, I am forever biased by the memory of the misery of the Aids crisis and the fearful contamination of our blood supply. The fact that Aids is still among us (and worse in Africa) makes me wonder why people are still trying so hard to make homosexual sex "normal". I am also biased and blessed because I am the faithful husband of a faithful wife and I'm a concerned father of two boys and a girl.

Maribeth, I said that procreation was "a" standard, not "the only" standard.

Let's be realistic, though. If two people are never going to have kids, why should the state promote their promises to each other? There's no need for tax breaks to allow more money for raising kids. There's no need for next of kin rules since there will be no one to inherit the money (and they can just get a will, etc.).

The two people are no different, in the eyes of the state, than a brother and sister living together. No one is left "in the cold" by a definition of marriage that involves creating and raising new human persons.

A brother and sister can selflessly commit to themselves and God. So can a mother and her kids, and a father and his kids. What you describe as "marriage" has nothing unique or limiting about it.

"Children have a right to their biological mother and father "

Even if those parents are abusive idiots or pedophiles?

Scott writes: "The fact that Aids is still among us (and worse in Africa) makes me wonder why people are still trying so hard to make homosexual sex "normal"

HIV isn't transmitted if partners are monogamous. This is why some of us are encouraging gay civil unions as opposed to a "hook-up culture". One is less likely to cheat on a partner if the partner can up and leave and take half your assets for doing so. Glad you mentioned Africa, where the majority of HIV transmission is through heterosexual sex. The issue is not the type of sex, it's who you're having sex with.

The other James writes: "Let's be realistic, though. If two people are never going to have kids, why should the state promote their promises to each other?"

So we should deny marriage licenses to folks over 40-45 or so since it's highly unlikely they'll have biological children?

A stable marriage DOES have quantifiable benefits to the participants, whether children are produced from the union or not. Study after study has shown this: people are happier, healthier, more likely to be affluent and are thus better able to contribute back to society.

Yes ... we have an interest in stable and committed exclusive partnerships whether children are produced or not.

Further, heterosexuals have apparently been unwilling to raise the children they HAVE produced given the number of children in adoption agencies. Affluent gay couples have been willing to raise these children, and study after study has shown that children fare better with two parents of either gender than a single parent.

"No boundaries, no rules, no societal expectations. Each person acting as his own god, defining for himself what it means to be human."

Absolutely right.

And most Christians refuse to speak out for fear of being called names.

We have allowed ourselves to be BULLIED by homosexuals to the point where now the bullying is legalized and permanent.

I don't know how we are going to go back from this. I really don't.

And Christians STILL refuse to say a peep about it all.

Worse still, many "Christians" are now promoting the lie that the Bible condones this lifestyle!

It's maddening. I am at my wit's end.

One thing is certain, however. I will not stop speaking out about homosexuality, and I will not bow to the bullying tactics of homosexuals and their supporters.

Mo writes: "One thing is certain, however. I will not stop speaking out about homosexuality"

You do that. Do you also tell all the Jews, Buddhists and heterosexual divorcees that you know that they're going to Hell as well?

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