Alabama & Same Sex Marriage

Image result for same sex marriage in alabamaOnce again the Great State of Alabama finds itself under the watchful gaze of the world as it deals with yet another supposed “civil rights” issue, namely “same sex marriage.” While one could (and should) debate the veracity of aligning same sex marriage with civil rights, that will not be the focus of this discussion. This discussion will attempt to define the issue of same sex marriage by examining the fundamental arguments incipient to the debate from both those for and against this issue. The tenants of the arguments seem to fall under three main headings; political, sociological, and moral. One may wonder why religion is not expressly stated as a tenant. Since morality is both a religious and philosophical issue it seemed pithier to combine them under the heading of morality. Now that all efforts to be pithy have been overcome by the previous sentence coupled with the current one let the discussion begin.

Advocates for the legalization of same sex marriage generally lead into the debate with the political and sociological tenants in order to appeal to the emotional aspect of love, happiness, equality, and fairness. The political implication is that same sex marriage supporters want to gain the same political and/or legal benefits marriage affords heterosexual couples. In other words same sex marriage proponents want the tax benefits and asunder legal abilities and protections a heterosexual marriage guarantees (i.e., social security benefits, medical benefits, parental rights, etc.).  Taken at face value with no concern for the remaining tenants this seems to be a fair argument. However, the political argument is coupled if not supported by the sociological argument and must be debated in light of both.  Using the sociological argument, advocates of same sex marriage appeal to the benefits of marriage for the society as a whole. They cite, for instance, statistical evidence claiming the overall sociological benefits marriage has on the individual, the couple, the family, and by extension the community.[1] Again, it appears to be fair and legitimate to argue that marriage in general benefits society as a whole. Thus, more marriages, regardless of gender, should be of more benefit to societal health.

One might argue, however, that their reason for framing the argument thusly is to attempt to dismiss the moral tenant completely. This may be intentional as a tactic to lure opponents to cede the morality of same sex marriage unwittingly or an attempt by the advocate to avoid the issue altogether.  Unfortunately for them, morality is at the heart of the debate regardless of which tenant the argument is based upon. Yet, same sex marriage advocates, almost compulsively, turn the argument to the appeal for equality in the expression of love. Here they assert in a sense that the “heart wants what the heart wants.” Or, “a person cannot help who they love.” Or, “who are you to tell a person who they can and cannot love.” Or, this hashtag from a Facebook post “#lovehasnogender.” Now, the debate has come full circle and every aspect of the argument, including morality, is in play.

Even the appeal to the 14th Amendment opens the door to the morality debate because the American society has placed moral limits on the freedoms they hope to expand for gay couples. “How so,” one might ask.  The same people who post #lovehasnogender would probably not be so inclined to post #lovehasnoage (i.e., pedophilia); #loveisnotonlymonogamous (i.e., polygamy); #lovehasnorelationalboundary (i.e., incest); #lovetranscendsspecies (i.e., bestiality). Surely, no one for same sex marriage would suggest that there should be absolutely no limits on love and marriage. If, society decides that even minimal limits are to be placed on one’s freedom to love and marry whomever and whatever they please, then society must concede that morality plays a role in defining the nature and function of marriage. The argument then becomes about which philosophy of life, or worldview, best serves the betterment of society. No longer is it merely a matter of political and legal perks, but of the purpose and function of marriage in a society. What is the role of sexuality in the human creature? What is morally acceptable as it relates to the purpose and function of marriage to include the nature of sexuality? Who determines the stander for by which these issues defined? How does one determine know the truth of the conclusion? What or who determines the moral compass upon which these truths are based? Are they left to the norms and mores of society potentially changing with each passing generation? If, so where does it stop? If this then, is a debate, and a debate about morality, then each side should be free to express an argument about the morality of same sex marriage. The following is my personal opinion of marriage based on a biblical worldview.

I am of the opinion that same sex marriage is naturally and morally wrong. While there may be some anomalies, generally creatures and plants are divided into two sexes – male and female. If one observes nature he will quickly see that opposite sexes are generally attracted to one another for the purpose of reproducing and preserving their respective species. This natural desire to procreate seems to be true in the human creature as well. The process by which procreation is accomplished is through sexual activity.  Therefore, while sex is pleasurable, regardless of the issue of procreation, the primary function of sexual activity seems to be procreation with pleasure being both an incentive and benefit. If the fundamental function of sex is procreation then sex is by nature designed to be experience between males and females. Moreover, the sex drive inherent in human beings seems to be the natural force designed to cause males to be attracted to females, and vice versa, to facilitate and satisfy the natural desire and pleasures associated with the act. Therefore, homosexuality is undeniably an unnatural use of sex and is merely an attempt to satisfy the desire and pleasure of sex in an unnatural and unintended way. This is why the Apostle Paul writes in Romans that the “women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1.26-27 ESV).

History seems to consistently show that marriage became the natural means of satisfying the desire to procreate and eventually develop societal units. It appears that through natural sexual attraction and the need to procreate; familial bonds were formed to accomplish this innate desire. Thus this heterosexual unit of husband and wife, with their offspring, became the foundation of society. Upon this foundation people groups developed into clans, states, and eventually nations. As stated earlier the statistics show that society is strengthened by these monogamous marital bonds and people groups are sustained through the production of offspring through these heterosexual relationships. Granted, history has also show that humanity has deviated greatly from these natural tendencies via homosexuality, polygamy, polyandry, prostitution, divorce, cohabitation, etc. Yet, these deviations are not and have never been the norm of a healthy society. In fact they have been the demise of many societies through history. Unfortunately, humans seem to never learn from the past and, as they say, are doomed to repeat it.

These natural tendencies seem to be inherent in the DNA of creation. The consistency with which they are found throughout the world regardless of government or religion indicates that they have been hard wired into to our being. This presupposes a master transcendent designer. The question now becomes who is that designer? What is His nature? Why did He create us thus? In my opinion Christianity answers all of these questions in a spectacular way. If so, then, it makes sense that the God of the Bible would expressly declare homosexuality to be an abomination[2] because it undermines the purpose for which He created men and women.[3] Therefore, I believe that homosexuality and same sex marriage are wrong naturally and morally, because they directly conflict with the inherent purpose of creation.

Grace,

Ronnie


[1] Austin Cline, “Arguments for Gay Marriage: Moral and Social Argument for Gay marriage,” Available at www.atheism.about.com/od/gaymarriage/p/ProGayMarriage.htm, (accessed February 9, 2015).

[2] Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Leviticus 18.22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20.13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

[3] Ibid., Genesis 2.24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Malachi 2.15: “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

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About Ronnie Knight
Follower of Christ, Husband, & Father. B.A. in Theology Masters of Divinity

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