Friday, November 7, 2008

"In Defense of Gay Marriage" Reconsidered

Jeff is tired of talking politics. I am too. But I can't pass this one up.

I've been listening to talk radio for the last couple days, curious to hear analysis of and interaction with the results from all of the various issues from Tuesday. I probably would have been sick of this by Wednesday at noon if it was all about Savior-Elect Obama, but my California airwaves have been filled instead with discussion of the passing of Prop 8.

I hope I am not arrogant when I assume that some of you will remember my going on record as not being against gay marriage- or at least not that against gay marriage. Truth be told, this election season has revealed to me my own political incompetence. I have been forced to consistently reconsider my positions on various issues and recognize some as more complex than I had previously thought. I'm still young.

This is one such issue, and what troubles me most now is that both sides want to make it simpler than it is. On the one hand, I stand by my primary contention with my previous post: I am not ready to argue that Christians should pull a simple, "The Bible says it so let's legislate it." This kind of thinking strikes me as somewhere between lazy and naive, with a dash of self-righteousness to add some flavor.

On the other hand what troubles me now is that I've been listening to radio personalities and various facebook friends express their disgust with those of us who ended up voting "yes" on 8. The issue is pinned as one of basic human civil rights, such that past bans on interracial marriage are invoked as perfectly analogous. Those who are against gay marriage are religious wackos who hate gays. The issue comes down to denying human rights, and no one should deny human rights.

What troubles me is the thoughtlessness on both sides. My older post addressed the religious right's thoughtlessness, so let me spend my comments here on the progressive left. I will be as brief and direct as possible and state my concerns:

Why does the state sanction marriage in the first place? Because the state recognizes that marriage produces children and as such build the blocks of society. Further, a good marriage tends to produce good children, which tends to produce a good society. It is thus in the best interest of society to reward marriage. But homosexuals cannot in fact produce children, which means that marriage for them has little to no societal benefit in that very sense. So why should the state sanction their marriages? If homosexuals want to have state-sanctioned civil unions, which would entitle them to many of the benefits of marriage (including, e.g., the necessary medical and legal considerations for their partners), that would be reasonable. Those are civil rights that heterosexuals and homosexuals alike should be entitled to. But there is no sense in the state rewarding homosexual union in the same way it does heterosexual union, because homosexual union does not have the same societal benefits.

This, by the way, is from what I understand the reason why even Obama thinks that homosexuals should be allowed civil unions but not marriages, and I don't know many "no on prop 8" types who don't like him!

Further, it is still yet to be seen what kind of effect homosexual unions will have on the children that homosexuals adopt and society in general. It is at this point not at all clear that this is a good thing for those children (one of the main reasons I did end up voting yes on 8).

Finally, I have not heard a homosexual marriage advocate address the slippery slope question: what is the limit of the term "marriage" for society? That is, what of other alternatives to one man and woman marriages, such as polygamy? If the reason that we allow homosexuals to marry is because homosexuals want to marry, why not allow polygamy to be carried out as legal, state-sanctioned marriage?

I am not saying that none of these concerns are answerable, by the way. I am still a libertarian wrestling with many of those issues. And I should add that it is a whole new experience for this person who tends to always be clearly one side of an issue or another to be in the gray middle. But this, like most political issues, is complex. It cannot be isolated as a single issue, but must be taken as one part of a larger political theory. And as far as I can tell, many of the loudest voices on this subject are unable to address it on this level.


Anonymous said...

The purpose of this email is to make certain accusations against the Chinese government and my
cry for help. Thank you for your time and your help will be highly appreciated.

Are you aware that the news you are watching is interlaced with Communist China's propaganda,as
Communist China maps a realm of news with innocent lives?
Communist China is scheming a millennial terrorist activity by manipulating people's behaviors
through electromagnetic waves to contain criticism and harm innocent human lives.

1. The anomaly in community traffic of cars and motorcycles and drag racing,and reckless honking by
cars and motorcycles is exceeding an unprecedented level.
2. Communist China has the technology to scan the human brain waves through military satellite and
to discern and decipher their thoughts,scheming to instill individual interference focusing on
each individual in need using the satellite electromagnetic waves.
3. Deploying electromagnetic waves is poised to project onto the human brain with certain
sounds for the perception of grossly traumatizing or startling pain,or deploying the broadcast
of noise via electromagnetic waves in sleeping humans with edited clips of films or through
voice or image signals onto our brains or besiege our sensory functions with fabricated
audible and sensory illusions.
4. It manipulates one's moods,such as smiling,nervousness,disgust,panic,anger,sorrow,
desires,appetite,and so forth.
5. It interferes the human brain's thinking capability,memory or linguistic capability,to name a
few,causing spasms of muscles and fingers in the left and right hands,stinging aches
throughout the body,coughing,yawning,trembling,involuntary blinking of the eye,runny
nose and so forth.
6. Electromagnetic waves are deployed to hinder the motoring functions of the body and neck,
disrupt the heartbeat or respiration,manipulate dizziness,deprive one's sleep,spasm,saliva
gland,dental neural pain,etc.
7. Watch out that Communist China is infiltrating the news media by deploying electromagnetic
waves to besiege the broadcast media,map out viral disillusion or erroneous perception,and
investigate threats of brainwashing in viral spreading.
8. It further moved to deploy various symptoms in what one sees of media icons,gesture terms,
adding a skewed interpretation to one's cognitive awareness,misleading an individual to
hallucinate or suffer,such as the North Korean's rigid smile,which is a tactic Communist
China often deploys to counter the people.
9. By observing the resolution accuracy of Communist China's sound and image (scenario)
interference projected onto the human's brain,this can only be achieved with a certain level
of frequencies at the source of interference,hence there is no doubt that it has to be the
electromagnetic wave. Yet questions remain as to what range of frequencies the source of
interference deploys,or what kind of electromagnetic waves insulation chamber would suffice
to provide an insulation yield? Communist China might deploy specific metal alloys as small scale
molecular antennas, which are attached to the human brain in large number,creating
electromagnetic waves when the human brain is in function,where the current created by
Communist China's electromagnetic interference would poise to amplify in a staggering
number of multiplication,which Communist China can detect at all times to discern and
muscles would excel the generation of electrode,which in turn create a corresponding
electromagnetic wave within.
10. Some of Communist China's intimidation experiences in 2002:6.9 "Hey,are you tired of living?"
6.14 "We had concocted the bombing incident at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan"
"Jiang Zhemin ordered us to kill you,but without creating scenes"6.16 "The Pakistani
civilian troops confessed that they had schemed the bombing of the U.S. embassy in
Pakistan,which we had manipulated them to confess,so what are you going to do about it?"
6.19 "Hey,why don't you just go ahead and commit suicide""We are going to scheme
murder using the public bus"6.20 "Commit suicide by burning charcoal,get it?"6.25 "Jiang
Zhemin just does not like you,go hit your head against the wall".
11. I reckon that there are victims abound out in the street,no less alarming than wars,and those
not in the know or did not understand that Communist China's simple electromagnetic design
could easily turn people against each other,create moving incidents,little lese to say mislead
the youth to broach down the wrong path,suicidal prompting,design and fabrication of a host
of society news (which Communication China refers to as movie making),as Communist China has had a
decade long of the technology,and has long abused its technological advantages to scheme up design
of abusing human lives by arranging fabricated news to poison and infiltrate the free
world,manipulate and misguide the contents of the media,and deploy brainwashing and malicious
spread of viruses,done with insinuation and riddles.The fact that Communist China's slaughtering
the innocent had been the result of a high level of calculation,and a high level of rationalization,
where the threats are in existence,and cannot be ignored of their detrimental severity.
12. Communist China often coerce people to watch news compiled by the reporter Lu Yuling of the cable
news in order for them to be saved,but few are aware that Communist China had merely deploy the
reporter to entrap many people. I do envision that those that turn to committing crime as framed
by Communist China,the extra sufferings by the ordinary people,and the deaths of many innocent
lives will not go unnoticed as hindered by a condoning attitude.
13. Nazi Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Chinese Liberation Army, security police and armed police have committed suppression and massacre on their own civilians. Hu, Jiang and the other atrocious butchers owe these innocent civilians! More horrible and serious is that they are using mysterious killing technologies to cause harms to human brains around the world, making advantage of numerous international politicians and journalists to help them commit atrocities and beautify their actions, aiming to overturn and suppress those innocent people and cover up their terrorist acts and win fame by cheating the world. Securing in the knowledge that they have strong backing, these arrogant and shameless butchers have committed tortures and mass killing cruelly to those innocent ones around the world. Unfortunately, neither these politicians and nor journalists knowing what is what would dare to express their conscience.
14. The inhumane acts and atrocities committed by Nazi China are far more vicious than that of Nanjing massacre in China during WWII committed by Japanese army, as Chinese government is using mysterious technologies to commit massacres to masses of bare-handed civilians around the world as well as launch violence and terrorist activities to suppress these completely unarmed people’s freedom of speech. These demons, like Hu, Jinag and Chinese Liberation Army, despise the chastity, dignity and precious life of those innocent ones and suppress the emotions of their beloved. Meanwhile, relying on the condition that most of people in the world will not be able to witness their vicious acts of violence and behaviors they have committed unscrupulously and shamelessly, these Chinese Liberation Army enjoys using cruel ways to torture, massacre and trample on these innocent people, physically and mentally, in one free world. The arrogant Hu, Jiang and those jackals nurtured under such ferocious power treat themselves as the symbol of benevolence and hero, as they fail to learn their gutless and vicious acts to trample on those innocent people. If these demons, butchers and dregs of human, such as Hu, Jiang and Chinese Liberation Army who have become frenzied and conscienceless appeared in the site of Nanjing massacre in WWII, they definitely would be the leading roles to act atrocities!
15. We don’t want to see masses of innocent people to fall victim to the hell on earth built by red China where they will be susceptible to tortures and massacres for thousands of years.
16. Despite being even unable to fend for themselves in face of the high-tech detriments and attacks from China, we can not tolerate the fact that these politicians and journalists will become the accomplices to help China commit its terrorist acts and suppression on these innocent people in the current era or an unknown future.
17. In view of the notorious, vicious and sinister Hu, Jiang, Chinese Liberation Army with blood-stained hands, we just cast doubt over whether these greats of knowing what is what who have negotiated with these demons will show their conscience to save these innocent civilians or will act just for the sake of their profits, or are under the control of China. In this current drowned world, how will these innocent lives be treated in face of the atrocious acts committed by these diabolical figures, or when these innocent people will witness the practice of democracy in China? Will these phenomena turn out to be the joint efforts and endeavors achieved by China and those powerful figures in the world? Are we really dedicated to overturning such adversity? Our goal is to eliminate the vicious power one day with our strenuous efforts, and we absolutely will achieve it!

Chen,Shun-Chuan 2002.10.13* Republic of China (Taiwan)

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I've just discovered that a Christian friend of mine is living is a gay relationship and is trying to adopt. Suddenly, this issue is of deep relevance to me. I haven't thought too much about it, but I cannot comprehend how bringing up children in a gay household can be healthy for the child and beneficial to society.

Anonymous said...

Without God, morality cannot exist. Humans cannot construct a consistent morality for they/we are inconsistent beings. God deemed homosexual relationships immoral/sinful. Who are we, who are you to question God? Please, continue to construct your own morality. In his own way, our Lord will help you realize your foolishness.

Anonymous said...

The issue in relation to the christian perspective should be decided by morality not human rights.
Human rights is more idealogical, and not really biblical. The question can be answered your way, but that opens the can of worms for a myriad of other issues. Such as abortion. Our country has replaced morality for tolerance. Tolerate what ever the society at the time deems appropriate. I'm not saying that the gray areas society has made progress in are all bad, but biblical worldview should trump human right. Especially since human rights is dependant on the whatever is right in the societies' eyes. I think it is safe to judge gay marriage as inappropriate based on the Bible. That isn't combining church and state, but adhering to your christian conscience. I don't believe anyone can separate their religion from their political decisions. If they are truly religious, beyond the point of a nominal participant. We all progress in our views as we get older and more mature, but our foundation should always be the same. Without that foundation truth becomes relative.

Andrew Faris said...


I have hesitated on responding to your comment because it seems to be such a good example of exactly what I'm talking about: we should legislate what the Bible says, no matter what.

But that just is not helpful, especially not the way you've phrased it. Let me ask you one question and we'll leave it at that for now: if we're so concerned with what the Bible says, find me a passage that says that we should legislate biblical morality at a political level (and OT Law doesn't count here because that was supposed to be a Yahwistic nation, whereas I am working on the assumption that America is not a Christian nation).


Much more thoughtful disagreement, which I appreciate. I think the problem here is that we're talking about two different things. You are talking about unchanging moral standards, which are always true and right. I won't dispute you on that.

My question is whether or not we should seek to legislate it just because the Bible says it. I am not as sure we should as you seem to be. This is primarily because I am working on the assumption that America is not a Christian nation.

I am also not as sure that this is a slippery slope, though in general that's a good concern to raise on an issue like this. Regarding abortion, what we are talking about is the murder of another human. No society can function reasonably if people are allowed to be killed. Legislation should be in place to not allow me to do something to you that will be physically harmful to you. That is the simple issue there.

I think I have more to say about this sort of thing, but that I have already outlined most of it in these two posts. Further, I'm feeling particularly inarticulate right now. Oh well- hopefully see my point.

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.


Anonymous said...

My argument against gay "marriage" is fairly simple: it doesn't exist. The Bible is clear that marriage is a union between a man and a woman; therefore two men can no more be married than I can draw a square circle. Governments don't create marriages; they recognize them. The government has no power to change God's definition, although it can lie about what marriage is.

Now I understand that you may be thinking of government marriage as not corresponding to real marriage, but I, and I would guess a majority in society, would like for government marriages to be the same as real marriages. If you don't want that, and prefer some type of civil union policy, it would be better to advocate that the government not regulate marriage at all and rather just grant civil unions. (I don't support that, as I think it would do great damage in a society where families are already dangerously weak and don't have strong societal/institutional support.) But don't push for SSM; using the word marriage just creates confusion.

As for a biblical reason why we should, in your terms, "legislate morality" (and I would note that we're already doing that with incest laws), I would go to Romans 13. Paul teaches that government should commend those who do good and punish those who do evil. SSM flips that on its head: the government declares as valuable and worthy of promotion homosexual unions that God considers abominable, while at the same time labeling Christians who oppose them as haters and bigots. SSM will inevitably lead to Christians being considered as equivalent to segregationists, with legal penalties quickly following.

If you would like to see a more fully developed version of my views, you can find them here:

Anonymous said...

I'm not arguing that because the Bible says so it should be law. My argument is your approach to world view. An argument for or against an a law can only be done from a starting point. Without a starting point for truth, anything goes. A foundation of some sort that is agreed upon. Weather it be the Bible, Torah, Koran, Hammurabbi's code, or whatever you politically or religiously adhere to. Everybody approaches politics this way,and if they deny it I don't believe them. Christians are ok for desiring a biblical basis for the direction of their country. Mormons desire their perspective to influence politics. Everybody has a perspective. Culturally we are a christian nation, but if you argue that we are not a christian nation that is fine. Then the consensus of the people becomes the deciding point of the morality of the nation. That is why gay marriage is ok. Society has judged it so in their own eyes. The majority decides. That is why based on that ideology abortion is ok. On what basis is it wrong? Your feeling is that it is wrong, but the majority feeling is it's ok.
Who determines human rights?
Society becomes the god who directs our destiny.
Death penalty is good 50 fifty years ago, but now we are deciding maybe it isn't the right thing to do. It isn't humane to take another's life. So does that make it ok? Some things appear to be simple decisions to us, like abortion, but not so clear to the rape victim. Her basis of deciding the issue is what is fair to her. What is her right. Society has agreed with her at this point so it is good to have the abortion. If in the future, for whatever reason, society changes it's mind it will no longer be good. Who decides? Society and whatever seems right in it eyes.
That is why I think it is ok to no to gay marriage. It doesn't align to my foundation which is the Bible. If people live that way fine, but government shouldn't have to recognize it. That is my view even if society as a consensus does not agree.


Anonymous said...

Many important issues here. First, to S Thomas and the many others who say similar things: it is not at all "clear" that the Bible says homosexuality is immoral, nor the practice of homosexual acts, nor allowing two same-sex people to marry. If it were "clear" there wouldn't be such large numbers of Christians who believe otherwise, including, obviously a great many learned Christian scholars. You might--obviously do--disagree with their Biblical interpretation, but like any any textual interpretation, one cannot claim "clarity" when there is such widespread diversity of opinion. Your opinions are valid, but that only goes so far. Second, although Prop 8 did pass and so the "will of the people" is clear, it is simply inarguable that civil rights cannot be legislated by straight democratic vote, by majority rule. Civil rights protect the minority--we did not/could not wait for the southern Jim Crow states to decide to vote to end Jim Crow, etc etc. Is gay marriage a civil rights issue? That, too, cannot be decided by majority vote. The governor of CA is correct: this needs to go back to the Supreme Court. That's where it belonged all along (even if Prop 8 had failed). Do gay people have equal protection? Do they even if they cannot get married? These are not issues for straight democratic votes. Third, Prop 8 had nothing to do with the effect on the children when they are adapted or raised by gay parents. There's enough evidence to suggest that there is no harmful effect, but of course we'll have much more evidence in 10-20 years. I'm betting they are no mroe effected than the children of interracial couples (we just elected one of those president) who were being "protected" 50 years ago by very similar arguments.