Monday, May 14, 2012

Two Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage

Truck on North Custer in Monroe
President Obama's admission that he supports same-sex marriage has prompted me to put together my thoughts on the issue. The President has created a platform for this discussion. So, I discuss.

I think there are two broad reasons to be against the legalization of same-sex marriages. One is legal, another is religious.

Re. the religious reason, those of us who are Christian theists and affirm the biblical text as being authoritative and this from God are concerned about the question: What does the biblical text say about this? For an introduction to this see a post I've made - "N.T. Wright on the Bible as Narrative." This reason of course will mean nothing to those who do not embrace Christian theism as the Grand Narrative of life. (Everyone has a worldview...)

Re. legal reasons, here are some links to the writings of Princeton Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George.
  • The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, ed. Robert George and Jane Bethke Elshtain. Elshtain write, in the Introduction: "An underlying presupposition for the essayists featured here - who range from moderate liberals to traditional conservatives - is that if we alter the institution of marriage as it is understood in our laws, there will be profound and perhaps unintended consequences for the ways in which we think of ourselves as men and women, and for the kind of society we live in." 
  • What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, by Sherif Gergis, Robert George, and Ryan T. Anderson. Forthcoming. "Originally published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this book’s core argument quickly became the year’s most widely read essay of more than 300,000 scholarly articles posted on the Social Sciences Research Network. Now expanded to address a flurry of prominent responses, What Is Marriage? stands poised to meet its moment as few books of this generation have. If the marriage debate in America is decided in the next few years, it will be either with this book’s help, or despite its powerful arguments. Rhodes Scholar Sherif Girgis, Princeton University professor Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, editor of the online journal Public Discourse, provide a devastating critique of the claim that equality requires redefining marriage. They point out that any assessment of what “marriage equality” demands depends on first determining what marriage is—what sort of relationships must be treated as essentially the same. They defend the principle that marriage, as a comprehensive union ordered to family life, requires a man and a woman. And they argue for the great social benefits of enshrining this principle in law. Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave themselves no firm ground—none—for not recognizing as marriages every relationship type describable in polite English, including multiple-partner (“polyamorous”) sexual unions. Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answer common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry (like laws forbidding interracial marriage); that it is callous to people’s needs; that it can’t show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere “social construct” as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.
  • See the just-published essay Marriage and the Presidency, by Sherif Gergis, Robert George, and Ryan T. Anderson.
  • See also Francis Beckwith, "Interracial Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage: Why the Analogy Fails."