Four Stupid Arguments Against Gay Marriage… and one good one!
by Jon Dykstra
(originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Reformed Perspective and was the winner of the 2004 Word Guild award for Best Feature article)
When a Christian politician asked me to write a brochure defending traditional Marriage I thought it would be an easy task – something I could complete in a couple of hours.
Three weeks later I still wasn’t finished.
The problem was every time I found a good argument defending traditional Marriage I discovered that a gay marriage advocate had come up with an even better rebuttal. My favorite Christian columnists weren’t doing any better. They were fixated on a mere handful of arguments, all of which initially seemed convincing, but ultimately none of them measured up. For example:
“Marriage has been this way for thousands of years, so why change it now?”
Slavery was also in vogue for millennia; does that mean it was right? In fact, slavery is still a firmly entrenched “tradition” in some parts of the world and yet, despite this status, we know it is wrong. So tradition for tradition’s sake isn’t much of an argument.
“Gay marriage will undermine traditional Marriage”
This argument has some validity but our opponents have a pretty compelling response to it; they accuse us of hypocrisy, and this attack hits close to home.
If we really cared about traditional Marriage – the whole life-long commitment thing – then why didn’t we speak up when the government instituted no-fault divorce? Or when they started encouraging common-law “marriage” by giving these no-commitment couples most of the financial benefits of Marriage? We sure didn’t react then with the same fervor we’re exhibiting now, fighting gay marriage. Why is that? Will same-sex marriage ever undermine the institution as much as no-fault divorce already has?
“The courts are forcing gay marriage on us – MP’s are supposed to write our laws, not unelected judges!”
Yes, MP’s are supposed to write our laws, but that’s not really the issue here. Are we worried about who makes the changes or about what is being changed? Will we be satisfied when Prime Minister Paul Martin and his Liberal MP’s, rather than judges, redefine the institution? No? Then this objection is nothing more than a “Red Herring” – a side issue brought in to confuse things. Let’s get back to debating the real issue please!
“Most Canadians are against changing Marriage”
This is another shortsighted argument – a clear example of building a house on a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Perhaps most Canadians are against gay marriage right now but what about in a few years? Besides, as Christians we know that just because most people think a certain way, that doesn’t mean that way is right. Or as my mother used to say, “If all the other boys jumped off a bridge, would you too?” Instead of focusing on what’s popular, we need to start talking about what’s right.
One good argument
It turns out there is only one good argument against gay marriage: Since God created the institution of Marriage, He gets to decide what it is, and what it isn’t.
Admittedly atheists and agnostics may not like this argument, and even some Christians might find it unattractive, but it has one thing going for it that none of the other arguments do – it is True. By building our argument on God’s sure foundation – by being unapologetically Christian – we can contrast godly Marriage with the poor, sickly imitation the world is proposing. We can show them that if Marriage isn’t built on a godly foundation, it has no foundation at all.
A different foundation?
The world thinks they can replace God’s standard for Marriage with a new, improved standard. God’s version of Marriage is too exclusive, even too bigoted – marriage shouldn’t be discriminatory, we are told. Justice Minster Martin Cauchon made that point when he argued for gay marriage saying, “There was a time in Canada, not that long ago, when it was perfectly acceptable that women could not vote.” In other words, since it was wrong to discriminate against women it must therefore be wrong to discriminate against gays on the basis of their sexual orientation.
But where does this new standard – that discrimination is always wrong – take us? Yes, gays will be allowed to marry, but this new standard justifies more than just gay marriage. After all, if two men can marry, why not three?
Some say this is a ridiculous thought, but what about the poor bisexual? Aren’t we discriminating against her on the basis of her sexual orientation when we require her to marry only one gender or the other?
And what of homosexual couples who want to have children? These couples, by necessity, require a third individual to propagate. For example, in New York, lesbian Beth Niernberg lives with two gay men who have both had a son by her. The three of them co-parent the boys, and the trio have an agreement in place that should Ms. Niernberg find a suitable woman the group will become a quartet.
Suddenly we’ve entered the realm of polygamy and really, it only makes sense. If you reject God’s limits to Marriage then there’s no reason to have limits at all. After all, if two men can marry, why not three?
Or for that matter, why not one? In the Netherlands Jennifer Hoes decided to end her wait for the perfect man or woman, and instead married herself. And in France the government took a lesson from our Prime Minster Trudeau and decided, “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” Therefore they will now grant marital benefits to two heterosexual men who live together. After all, is it really fair to discriminate against them just because they aren’t having sex? Of course not.
If God’s standard for Marriage is rejected then absolutely anything is possible.
The way it was meant to be
The only anchor, the only firm foundation for Marriage is found in God’s design for the institution. His institution recognizes that men and women need each other, and that being male and female has real meaning beyond just our body parts. He knows that children need a mother and a father – parents who are committed to one another for life – so He hates divorce and adultery.
Over the last 30 years we’ve seen the damage done when we deviate from this standard. Instead of deviating further, isn’t it about time we did something to restore this institution to the way God meant it to be? It isn’t enough to be against gay marriage – it’s time we stood up for godly Marriage.
1 “The New Queer Family” by O’rya Hyde-Keller The Village Voice June 25, 2003
2 “Faith: Woman marries herself” by Uwe Siemon-Netto UPI March 12, 2003
3 “The Fall of France: What gay marriage does to marriage” by David Frum National Review Nov. 8, 1999
4 In France even the dead can get married. In February this year Christelle Demichel married her fiancée, Eric Demichel, who had died 17 months earlier (National Post Feb 23, 2004). In the Bible we are told that the marriage ends with death (Romans 7:1-2), and that there will be no marriage at the resurrection (Matt. 22:23-30).
5 More food for thought – two political parties in the Netherlands recently asked the government to outlaw bestiality after a man was caught violating a pony (WORLD March 27, 2004). But as one parliamentarian explained, the politicians weren’t worried about the inherent immorality of the act, but instead were concerned that the animal didn’t consent. Zoe Heller, writing in the National Post, (April 5, 2004) made the same point when she insisted that there was one clear reason why people would never be allowed to marry pigs – because “you could never reliably gain the pig’s consent.” This seems to be the secular world’s best argument against bestiality. But what Zoe Heller and the Dutch politicians forget is that humans have never felt the need to procure consent from animals. Does a horse give consent to its rider? Does a chicken consent to be killed and eaten? Of course not. So why would we then require that animals consent to marriage? Once again it is clear that if God’s standard for Marriage is rejected then absolutely anything is possible.