“Same Sex Marriage” proponents (hereafter SSMP) are huge supporters of important values like tolerance and fairness and equality and rights and what not…right?
The trouble is that SSMP are out to deprive children of either a mom or a dad.
What do I mean? Well, legally speaking, at least as I understand it, the state’s interest in marriage stems not so much from marriage as it does from encouraging particular privileges for children under the law. If this is the case, then fundamentally changing the legal definition of marriage will likely affect children, whether for good or for ill. But for the moment we will set aside any supposed legal justifications for the state’s involvement in marriage.
Now, as a Christian, I believe that the legal understanding of marriage in a land, if there is going to be one, ought to closely resemble the biblical understanding of marriage. I know, my religious tradition is not your religious tradition. But I actually believe the claims of my religious tradition. Like, really, truly, believe them. And so I am persuaded that what my religious tradition has to say about things like marriage is the best thing anyone, or any state, could ever say about things like marriage. Don’t get too upset. What you believe about marriage affects your politicking every bit as much as what I believe about marriage. We both think we have the truth, and we both think that the truth is what is good for the world. We are both out for human flourishing. We disagree on how to get there.
Marriage is, in Christian tradition and Scripture, defined by God as the union of one man and one woman for life. This is basic stuff from the very first book of the Bible, the book of beginnings, Genesis. And yes, one of the main purposes for this union is procreation.
I already hear the objections. “What about heterosexual couples who cannot have children?” The answer is actually quite simple. They were designed to have children. Unfortunately, sin has come into the world and wrecked that design. No, I am not saying that the couple in question committed some sin that has resulted in their not being able to have children. I am saying that we are all not only sinners, but victims of sin. We live in a fallen world. Men cannot have children with men even in a perfect world. The same holds true in the case of women with women. Procreation is the exclusive property of heterosexual couples, and that is by God’s design.
In principle, a man and a woman can make a baby. This is not just basic Bible, it is basic biology. In principle, a man and a woman can make a baby. That is, according to God’s design, a man and a woman can make a baby. And that’s it. Do you know who cannot, in principle, make a baby? A man and a man cannot make a baby. A woman and a woman cannot make a baby. Only a man and a woman can make a baby. That is how it was in Eden. That is how it remains even now. It does not follow that only those who can procreate should get married, because procreation is only one purpose of marriage.
Marriage has other purposes. For example, marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church. Man is to woman in marriage as Christ is to Church in union. A man and a man cannot make this picture. Neither can a woman and a woman. Neither can a man and multiple women, or multiple men and a woman. Only a man and a woman can make this picture.
Marriage is also for pleasure. A man and a man cannot experience pleasure the way a man and a woman can. Neither can a woman and a woman experience pleasure in exactly the same way that a man and a woman can. Oh, I am not denying that a man and a man or a woman and a woman can experience pleasure, but I am denying that they can ever experience pleasure in the same way as a man and a woman can. Again, basic biological functions and factors are in play here. But we will set these arguments aside for now.
Another purpose of marriage is to provide a home for children. Notice I am not addressing procreation here. I am addressing marriage as an institution which provides a context for the raising of children. The children might be obtained through adoption rather than procreation. One man and one woman united for life are best suited for this purpose. How do I know that? First, Scripture clearly sets forth God’s design for the family as one man married to one woman. Second, by biological design, God only gives children to parents who are one man and one woman. So that is the biblical ideal, whether we like it or not, and we know this from both special and general revelation, from the Bible as well as nature.
Divorce and death separate children from one or both parents. This is traumatic, and awful. And it is not part of God’s design. Divorce and death are a result of the Fall, a result of sin’s effects in the world, not a result of God’s perfectly good design. Can a divorced parent be a really good parent to a child? Absolutely. Can a widowed parent be a really good parent to a child? Absolutely. But do you know what a divorced parent cannot be to a child? A divorced parent cannot be the missing parent. Do you know what a widowed parent cannot be to a child? A widowed parent cannot be the missing parent. In both cases, even though the remaining parent is a perfectly good parent to his or her child, he or she cannot be the other parent of that child. That child, in the case of divorce or death, is deprived of a parent, or at any rate deprived of a two parent home. In other words, the child is missing something that other children have by God’s design and by nature. That something is the other parent.
What does all of this have to do with SSM? We are almost there. As a Christian, I oppose unbiblical divorces and death. They are not part of God’s original design for us as human beings. They are results of the Fall of humanity into sin. And they deprive children of at least one of their parents. My heart breaks for children who have to grow up without a father or without a mother.
But SSMP do not feel this way at all. In fact, they willingly advocate for depriving children of a father or a mother. SSMP argue that SSM partners are just as well-equipped to parent children as men and women in traditional marriage relationships. To some extent, they may be right, especially in terms of a non-Christian worldview. Just as a divorced or widowed person can be a really good parent to his or her children, so also a homosexual person could be a really good parent to his or her children. A pair of dads or a pair of moms can be really good dads and moms, but they can never give a child a dad and a mom. By its very nature, SSM deprives children of either a dad or a mom.
SSMP respond by pointing out that a child is not really deprived of any basic necessity when parented in an SSM setting. I would counter that the situation does result in deprivation of this nature, given the design plan outlined above. However, we need not rely upon this stringent definition of deprivation. The point is that SSMP actively advocate for denying a child the right, privilege, or whatever you might call it of knowing, loving, and being lovingly raised by both a dad and a mom. Regardless of how loving their homosexual parents may be, children of SSM partners will never know the love of either a father or a mother. And that is wrong, both biblically and biologically.
Now, some SSMP will at this point claim that my whole argument is quite silly. (Of course, claiming that my argument is silly and demonstrating that it is silly are two very different things.) They will claim, no doubt, that the love of a father and the love of a mother are not really so different after all. And they will make this argument based upon the supposed irrelevance of either gender or biology or both. After all, what do gender or biology have to do with the way a person loves another person? And I will respond that gender and biology have quite a lot to do with the way a person loves another person, according to Scripture, nature, and common experience, anyway. But I know you are growing tired of hearing this constant appeal to the Christian worldview. So I will leave you with the following question.
If love has nothing to do with either gender or biology, then why are there SSMP in the first place? Every SSM argument is based around the assumption that love has everything to do with gender and biology. SSMP insist that some men love other men, and some women love other women, and it cannot be any other way. But that assumption is placing every emphasis upon the distinction between different genders, different biological realities, and their inextricable connections to love.
A father and a mother are two different things, as are the love of a father and the love of a mother. SSMP are fighting to deprive children of knowing a father and a mother and experiencing their complementary love. So much for important values like tolerance and fairness and equality and rights and what not.