Marriage, what does this word mean to you? This has been in the news lately because of the cases that are currently before the Supreme Court in the form of California’s Proposition 8 and DOMA. Each of these acts bar two people of the same sex from marrying and sharing in the legal rights as heterosexual couples. I do not pretend to be a lawyer, but once all the vitriol, hyperbole and sensational news blab is swept aside, we are left with asking what is the root of this split in opinions. Should everyone be allowed to legally marry despite his or her orientation? Is there a basic constitutional law that prevents this, or is there something else behind the argument?
The two primary organizations defending these laws, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and ProtectMarriage both are adamant that a marriage is a union of one man and one woman with the hopeful purpose that they will procreate. In fact, ProtectMarriage goes so far as to state that,
Moreover, due to the innate biological differences between men and women and the unique procreative capacity of an opposite-sex union, marriage is, and always has been, understood in civilized society as only between a man and a woman.
No other purpose of marriage can plausibly explain the institution’s existence, let alone its ubiquity. Indeed, if human beings reproduced independently and human offspring was self-sufficient, would any culture have developed an institution anything like what we know as marriage?
To be fair, they soften this some when talking about people who are unable to procreate, but this is their established standard. To see what facts they are basing their position on, I dug a little deeper into their website to find what supporting evidence they have. I found a study by Robert Lerner, Ph.D. and Althea K. Nagai, Ph.D. that analyzes the methods used in 49 other studies that examined same-sex relationships and children. The Lerner/Nagai report shows how these other studies have no statistical basis for claiming there is no difference between homosexual and heterosexual parenting. I was puzzled as to how this helps the case by saying there is no evidence either way. Imagine, 49 studies done incorrectly. Maybe they should do a study of the odds that 49 studies could all come to no statistical conclusion. Looks like a classic case of if you can’t attack the argument, attack the person making the argument.
ProtectMarriage goes further to support their actions with the following claim.
Other societies have experienced this firsthand. After the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001, rates of out-of-wedlock childbirth, cohabitation and divorce were all exacerbated in the aftermath of redefining marriage.
There was no proof if there is a causal relationship or these just happened at the same time. One can say the Dutch bought more cells phone since 2001, had more out-of-wedlock births, and it would be equally true. Those silly Dutch, only they would combine cell phones and homosexuality. Furthermore, consider this extraordinary fact. Twenty percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, which is close to the percentage of homosexuals living there. Coincidence?
It is interesting to note that ProtectMarriage outwardly has no religious affiliation. However, when you read the credentials of the authors on this aforementioned report, there is a strong association with religious organizations. ProtectMarriage’s partner, the ADF, makes no apologies that theirs is a religious based stance. Combined with what I think are the odd legal grounds their cases are based on, I can only conclude that this comes down to a religious interpretation issue rather one of law. Given this perspective, to understand their logic in bringing these cases to court one has to consult the Bible for definition and advice on matters of family and sexual relations.
The Bible has many passages about homosexuality being improper in the eyes of the Lord. One of many quoted parts of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
That is quite the list. Who would have thought that these abhorrent behaviors are all connected? Greedy, drunk, rude, homosexual. That can only mean there is a drunken gay bank robbing conspiracy invading America. Alarming. The ADF and ProtectMarriage team cannot fix this soon enough. You know, I was in the bank the other day, and I heard a tipsy man look at the teller and say into a cell phone in an effeminate Dutch accent, “Who does she think she’s fooling with that hair color?” I was scared. Please ADF/ProtectMarriage, save us from the Rude Gay Dutch Bank Robbers who are TAKING OVER THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
In a tactic even a knucklehead like me can see through, the public face of this anti same-sex argument is trying to distance itself from hate speech littering the Bible. Instead, they have invented the connection to procreation to further their arguments, claiming the basis for marriage is for the benefit of children. Remember, forget love, do it for the children. Again, they cannot get too far from the real foundation of their argument, which again leads back to the Bible for advice. The Bible contains a plethora of fascinating guidance on how to raise and abuse children. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” One of my favorites was Lot’s offer to an angry mob in Genesis 19:8. A mob of men had come to his home to rape a couple of visiting Angels. Lot addresses them at his door.
“Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
Dubious parenting skills for sure, but it is in the Bible so it must be sound advice. In the Pre-King James version of the Bible, Midrash and Aggadah are quoted as saying, “Way to go Dad.” Later in Genesis, Midrash and Aggadah, believing Lot was the last man on earth, got him drunk, had sex with him, and bore his children. I just do not know where to go with that kind of family structure.
If the ADF and ProtectMarriage want to adhere to the Bible, they need to extend their efforts to the true model of Christian Marriage. Polygamy. Lamech, Abraham, Jacob, Esau, Gideon, Saul, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Elkanah, Ashur, Abijah and Jehoiada all had more than one wife or concubine. Even that old bugger Moses for crying out loud seems to have had more than one wife. After wandering in the desert and performing miracles for years, any man or women would want a little extra attention, I guess. I am sure in their enlightened view these organizations would allow women multiple male spouses as well. So come on ADF, go all in or stay home! Understandably, this may be too much for the ADF and ProtectMarriage legal team to handle all at once. For expediency, they can only support one Biblical statute at a time, but I think they need to put polygamy next on their action item list.
All kidding aside, this is a case of prejudice, and the ADF and ProtectMarriage know they are on thin legal footing. Their argument is terribly narrow, not well founded, but nonetheless a well-funded display of bigotry and ignorance. They do however have the backing of a large faction who think it is their God given right to block a group of people from having the same privileges they enjoy. What is fascinating is that individuals from all walks of life change their minds as they age and learn they have friends and family members who are homosexuals. It may surprise many of the holdouts that homosexuals have the same triumphs and worries that they do. They have active careers, setbacks, loves, and losses. All of the things that make up a life.