Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex is a legal endorsement of the fungibility of a man and woman in marriage. To set “any two persons” on a par with a man and a woman in marriage is to reduce the worth of their roles. To draw an analogy, if a government declared the price of coal to be equivalent with the price of gold, would the cost of coal go up, or would the cost of gold come down?
Supporters of same-sex marriage often ask its opponents, “How would same-sex marriage negatively affect your marriage?” Here are just ten ways:
1. Same-sex marriage reduces the worth of your marriage
Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex is a legal endorsement of the fungibility of a man and woman in marriage. To set “any two persons” on a par with a man and a woman in marriage is to reduce the worth of their roles. To draw an analogy, if a government declared the price of coal to be equivalent with the price of gold, would the cost of coal go up, or would the cost of gold come down? The price of gold would come down. Traditional marriage is the gold standard of marriage. People who affirm gay/lesbian marriage as equivalent in worth to the marriage of a husband and a wife devalue the worth of your marriage.
2. Your marriage will be forced to abide by the social strictures of same-sex marriage
By legalizing same-sex marriage the state becomes its official advocate. Thus, in every public forum where marriage rights extend to gays and lesbians, the state will expect you to comply. Local judges will be called upon to conduct the new civil ceremony. Any restraints within the public schools to advocate for the LGBTQ culture will be removed fully. In the private sphere, owners of rental properties must agree to accept same-sex couples as tenants. Businesses offering wedding services will be forced to cater same-sex ceremonies, and much more. If your traditional marriage touches these, or similar areas, you can expect it to be affected.
3. The rights of spouses to dissent same-sex marriage will be infringed
Once “marriage-equality” is achieved its advocates will work through the courts and other means to silence dissent. Should you and your spouse refuse to comply with any new regulations pursuant to the redistribution of marriage rights, even if that failure is based on conscientious objections, you can be penalized. If it is an intrinsic value of a heterosexual married couple to oppose same-sex marriage, and that right is infringed, then that marriage has suffered injury. Many black churches, in replying to the objection that Christians ought to stay out of politics, have argued that political speech is inherent to the Black Church experience. The inherent right of heterosexual spouses to protest gay/lesbian marriage will suffer damage under the new definition of marriage.
4. Same-sex marriage will absorb your marriage into a new view of reality
The basic argument for same-sex marriage states that there is no fundamental difference between the rights of gays/lesbians and heterosexuals to marry. Supporting the legal claim of “gender equality” is a view of human sexuality that erodes natural, gender-specific, differences between men and woman. The result is a “unisexual” view of personhood which, rather than affirm diversity, blurs it beyond recognition. The unisexual view of personhood is part of global move toward a hermaphroditic understanding of reality. According to this vision of things “all religions are equal” (unireligion); “all nations are equal” (one world order), etc. Ironically, diversity, the very thing secularism claims to champion, is what it destroys. Unity (two people becoming one) and diversity (a husband and a wife) are held in perfect balance in traditional marriage.
5. Same-sex marriage makes the concepts of husband and wife irrelevant in your marriage
When the California Supreme Court held In re Marriage Cases (2008) held that “California legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying” (News Release 26, May 15, 2008, In re Marriage Cases, S147999), the court order decreed that all marriages would have the respective parties designated as “party A” and “party B.” That ruling was a result of the Court’s acknowledgement that it could afford by statute domestic partnerships all the rights and privileges of marriage but not labels similar to “husband” and “wife.” That left gays and lesbians free to refer to their relationships any way they wanted e.g., spouse-partner, life partner-significant other, wife-wife, husband-husband, or whatever! The fact is that words have meaning. The elevation of same-sex marriage to that of traditional marriage, combined with the use of random nomenclature to designate parties in same-sex marriage, absorbs and reduces time-honored roles of husbands and wives into a morass of meaningless linguistic jargon.
6. Same-sex marriage will obfuscate the state’s interests in your marriage
As Justice O’Connor said in her concurring opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, “preserving the traditional institution of marriage” is a “legitimate state interest.” (Lawrence v. Texas, 123 S. Ct. 2472, 2487-88 (2003) (O’Connor, J., concurring). Such interests are predicated mainly in the fact that heterosexual couples can produce children which facilitates social order and the longevity of the state. State interest in marriage extends to the well-being of a child, for should a family fail to protect a child that responsibly can fall to the state. However, if marriage is to have any social value the social meaning of marriage must remain apparent and protected. For, “the contribution of family life to the conditions that develop and sustain long-term personal fulfillment and autonomy depends (among many other important factors) upon maintaining the family as a legally defined and structurally significant entity.” Bruce C. Hafen, The Family as an Entity, 22 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 865, 867 (1989). Anything less than preserving the traditional definition of marriage creates an imprecise relationship between the state and your marriage
7. Same-sex marriage defeats the purpose of the state’s interest in benefiting your marriage
A reason the federal government bestows numerous benefits on families with children, including child tax credits, is due to their social significance. The intent and design of heterosexual marriage is to provide the normal and stable conditions for the birth and upbringing of children. Homosexual marriage is not aimed at providing such conditions. Its chief purpose is the personal gratification of two individuals whose relationship is inherently barren. A major agenda item of gay activists is to secure a range of federal, state, and local benefits, hitherto enjoyed by traditional marriages. Should that goal be met fully, courts would only serve to empty traditional marriage of its significant social meaning, other than the respect of personal preferences. Should that ensue, would the federal government (especially one burdened economically) still see the necessity to continue to extend tax breaks to married heterosexual couples with children? Child tax credits could be offered to gay/lesbian couples who adopt. But the government could also choose to “level the playing field” by maintaining deductions for dependents whether they are children or spouses.
8. Same-sex marriage challenges the nature of your marriage
If marriage is a civil right for all, then what is to stop other types of non-traditional relationships? Why not permit incestuous and polygamous marriages? Why not allow marriages between adults and children? How about nuptials between people and animals? Will the age of tolerance permit Muslim men to take multiple wives while Muslim women are restricted to one husband? These horrific possibilities destroy the nature of marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman.
9. The redistribution of marriage rights modifies your marriage as a natural entity afforded legal recognition
Marriage is a naturally occurring relationship. A purpose of U.S. law is to create a flourishing context for the family to govern itself. Put differently, the state does not create marriage but is to create complimentary environments in which martial life is legally recognized and protected. Redefining marriage by legal fiat changes this point of reference. It shifts the legal posture of the state from recognizing a preexisting institution to creating the institution after its own image and likeness. The state would become the originator of your marriage. Case in point, the Hawaii Supreme Court called marriage “a state conferred legal partnership status.” Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44, 58 (Haw. 1993).
10. The legal legitimization of same-sex marriage affects your status as a father or a mother
In a prominent Massachusetts case allowing joint custody for the partner of a child’s biological mother, the court ruled that a “de facto” parent “performs a share of caretaking functions at least as great as the legal parent.” E.N.O. v. L.M.M., 711 N.E.2d 886, 891 (Mass. 1999). One can safely assume that no husband has faced the need to be acknowledged a “de facto” parent of his wife’s child. Let’s assume that the titular “marriage” is between two men and that one of the men is the natural parent of a little girl. Affirming that the male partner in a gay marriage is equivalent to the natural relationship of a mother in “caretaking function” is not only preposterous. It marks a monumental shift in the posture of the law toward the capability of parents within marriage and therefore the status of both mother and father relevant to their child.
ACLU of Northern California. “Landmark Cases.” https://www.aclunc.org/cases/landmark_cases/in_re_marriage_cases.shtml.
Duncan, William C. “The State Interests of Marriage.” 2 Ave Maria L. Rev. 153. (2004). http://www.marriagelawfoundation.org/publications/Ave%20Maria%201.pdf.
Hafen, Bruce C. “The Family as an Entity”, 22 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 865, 867 (1989).
New Release, “California Supreme Court Rules in Marriage Cases.” Release Number: 26. May 15, 2008.
Legal Information Institute. “Lawrence vs. Texas.” Cornell University law School. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZC.html
Baehr v. Lewin. Hawai’i Supreme Court 74 Haw. 645, 852 P.2d 44 May 5,
John Barber, Ph.D., is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Cornerstone PCA in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The article first appeared on his blog and is used with permission.
[Editor’s note: One or more original URLs (links) referenced in this article are no longer valid; those links have been removed.]