How can any good, moral, and loving person oppose same sex marriage?

 This is the question that about 60% of the American public would ask today. Now fifteen years ago about 60% of the American public would have held to the reverse of this question wondering if any good, moral, or loving person could support same sex marriage. [1] One must remember that the majority can and does change their minds about what is good, moral, and loving. The reality is however that what is good, moral, and loving does not change with the winds of public opinion.

 Now it is clear that some people who opposed same sex marriage were not good, moral, or loving.   Their hatred of anyone who practiced or engaged in same sex romance and sexuality was based on self-righteousness, fear, and dehumanization of those who engaged in these practices.   Some of these people were “homophobic”. This led to people being treated in horrible ways, humiliated, physically abused, emotionally and verbally attacked, and suffering all the horrible fruits of irrational prejudice. All of this opposition to same sex romance, sex, and marriage was motivated by evil intentions and therefore could never be an expression of right moral thinking or practice.

 To be fair not all those who supported same sex marriage were motivated by what they felt was good, moral, or loving either. They had no intention of forming life long committed relationships but simply wanted the society to accept their sexual activities as equally normal with heterosexual activities. Their motivations were the desire to win a political battle, have power and control over others, and lift any social support for supporting the belief that same sex marriage, sex, and romance were wrong.  

 Both sides in this battle had an ugly “fringe” which neither side would really want to endorse or support. It would be wrong to characterize those we oppose by defining the entire group by these “fringes”.   This does not remove the real difference between those that looked upon same sex marriage as a social good and others that saw it as a social evil.  

 However one can actually be right about a moral standard while being totally wrong about attempts to practice that standard.   So the fact that such people acted this way does not immediately take away the idea that there may be a way to be opposed to same sex marriage and be a moral, good, and loving person.

 Not all those who oppose same sex marriage, romance, and sex have the minds and hearts of the K.K.K.   The idea that opposing same sex marriage is as irrational and wrong headed as thinking people of other shades of skin than white are less than human is simply not a true comparison. Sexual orientation is not the same as skin color and is a much more complex issue both biologically and psychologically.

 So some of those who oppose same-sex marriage could do so who at the same time believe that those who desired to have same sex romance, sex, and marriage were:

  1. Made in the image of God and worthy of respect given to any other human being
  2. Believed that people with this desire were as able to act in responsible ways as any other person.
  3. Should be shown care, compassion, understanding, and love.

Now this does mean that I can love and respect someone and at the same time believe they are mistaken in their moral standards and ethical practice.   My care and respect for a person does not mean that I have to agree with them on every moral issue.

So if there was a rational argument that could be made that same-sex marriage was not morally a good action then those who believed in this argument to be true, could indeed be good, moral, and loving people. [2] The question is to what degree can we tolerate different understandings of what is good, moral, and loving?   Is there room for debate on this issue?

So let us look at our moral choices concerning same sex marriage, sexuality, and romance. There are three.

  1. Same sex marriage, sexuality, and romance are a positive moral good.

 

  1. Same sex marriage, sexuality, and romance are neutral morally. Such actions are not moral or immoral.   They simply can exist but are neither good nor bad.  They are simply a matter of taste much as one person liking vanilla ice cream and another liking chocolate.

 

  1. Same sex marriage, sexuality, and romance are a moral evil.

 

Now could a person hold to the third position on same-sex marriage rationally and combine this with a right attitude towards people who differ with them on this moral point of view?  Yes, it would be possible.

 To help us with this let us apply this to a different sexual practice.

 Some people believe that having sex prior to marriage is a positive moral good, some a morally neutral activity, and others a moral evil. Now one can have a friend who is committing fornication and really believe that it is not a right moral action, yet show that person care, concern, love, and respect.   It is possible to agree to disagree in an agreeable manner.

Now the law of the land is the public standard on what that society believes to be morally and ethically good.   When the Supreme Court makes same sex marriage something that must be permitted in all 50 states it is declaring it either a moral good or something that should not be regulated because it is ethically neutral.   The law of the land always reflects the moral and ethical thinking of a culture.   Law and morality are always connected.   If the moral thinking of a culture is wrong then its laws will be wrong as well.

What rational arguments can be given to support the idea that same sex marriage, sex, and romantic actions are not moral?

There would appear to be two ways to think about this topic

  1. Sexual moral and ethics are seen always in the context of a larger “world view”. It is only within this “world view” that such activities can be placed in either a good or bad category.   If one held to a naturalistic “world view” then one would most likely place all sexual activity in a “morally neutral” category except to the extent that such actions failed or succeeded to express other higher moral ideals such as “fairness”, “do no harm”, “freedom” or “honesty”  

 If one holds to the historic Christian faith and the revelation of the Bible as understood for thousands of years then one would conclude that same sex marriage, sex, and romance is not the will of God for human beings. Based on the idea of God’s revealing to us the best manner of lifestyle which is for the common good, then the vast majority of people would conclude that the Bible is saying it is not the will of God for people of the same sex to marry, have sex, or seek romantic feelings.[3] Now some have attempted to debate this conclusion but it is in fact the traditional and historic understanding of the message of the Bible.

So basically the reasoning goes like this and is summarized by Dr. Craig in these four points:

 

“(1) We are all obligated to do God’s will.

 

(2) God’s will is expressed in the Bible.

 

(3) The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.

 

(4) Therefore, homosexual behavior is against God’s will, or is wrong.

Now if someone is going to resist this reasoning, he’s got to deny either that (2) God’s will is expressed in the Bible or else that (3) the Bible forbids homosexual behavior.”   [4]

So the moral debate about same-sex marriages, sexual behavior, and romantic relationships is really a debate about either the Bible being a revelation from God or what that revelation actually teaches.   For the most part, it really is a rejection of the idea that the Bible is a revelation from God to give us absolute moral standards.   Those who reject this normally will also reject the historic Christian view concerning homosexuality.  

 

So the real question is can a person who holds to historic Christian faith be considered a good, moral, or loving person? I would hope we could believe that it would possible for that to be true. The only other conclusion would be that 100% of those that hold the traditional Christian world-view are not good, moral, or loving people.   That would be a very radical conclusion

  1. There are those who solely based on rational, logical, and pragmatic reasons oppose same sex marriage.

The argument here is that marriage is a civil institution that serves the society in the creation of responsible citizens.   Historically this has been accomplished through heterosexual marriage and in the West monogamy has proven to be the most sane and stable situation in which children have the greatest opportunity to mature and reach their full potential. This is not to say that heterosexual marriages may not face many challenges to being effective.   The health of marriage as the primary institution of repopulating the society with good citizens is a primary concern for every society.

There is no evidence that same sex marriages will be effective in the creation of responsible citizens. There could be many unintended consequences to allowing same sex marriages, which could not be detected until they had already crippled a society. Because of this, marriage should remain between one man and one woman as the best bet for a stable foundation for society.  

There is another danger stated by Adam Kolasinski. 

“The biggest danger homosexual civil marriage presents is the enshrining into law the notion that sexual love, regardless of its fecundity, is the sole criterion for marriage. If the state must recognize a marriage of two men simply because they love one another, upon what basis cant it deny marital recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a sterile brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual activists protest that they only want all couples treated equally. But why is sexual love between two people more worthy of state sanction that love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos.”  

( http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1082190/posts )

 Now I am not suggesting these are the only reasons that people could oppose same sex marriage as a social institution but here am demonstrating that a reasonable, moral, good, and loving person could hold to these positions.   Therefore, it is possible for a person to be an individual striving to be a good, moral, and loving person and have these convictions.

Now, just because something is made legal does not mean that it is moral. If the moral and ethical reasoning behind a law is faulty then the law will not be sound since its foundation is wrong. Law is only as sound as the “ethical calculus” upon which it is based. Laws therefore can establish evil as well as good in a society.   If we do our moral math wrong we will also establish bad laws in our nation.

 In conclusion

 There are two questions. Which moral argument for same-sex marriage is objectively true? This has nothing to do with polls or law. It is a matter of right reasoning about moral and ethical matters.   This is where the discussion needs to be held since to make a mistake about morals may send the nation down the wrong road.   Checking our moral math is never a bad idea.

        The other issue is if a person having reason to believe that same-sex marriage is wrong morally and that all people should be treated with loving respect, regardless of their perspective on this issue, be a good, moral, and loving individual? The answer here would seem to have to be “yes”, unless one would be making this issue the “litmus test” for a person being accepted as a civilized person.

So even as those holding to the good of same-sex marriages have faced at times abuse for their holding their position it would be important that we not now begin to abuse those who in good conscience hold to the belief that same-sex marriage is not God’s will for human beings.   We must learn to agree to disagree in an agreeable manner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/117328/Marriage.aspx

 

 

[2] I am using the idea of being a “good, moral, and loving” person in less than an absolute sense but within the context of all human beings being radically immoral at core except for the grace of God (see Romans 3:1-20). I am using this as type of “street language” since most people don’t agree with God’s radical evaluation that we are not doing HIS will daily in thought, word, and deed. It is what Martin Luther the reformer would call “civil righteousness”.  Civil righteousness is that imperfect but substantial righteousness which enables human society to continue to exist, creating relative peace, harmony, and working for the common good and is the fruit of the common grace of God.

 

[3] https://bible.org/article/homosexuality-biblical-christian-view   For a summary of the biblical argument.

 

[4] (Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/a-christian-perspective-on-homosexuality#ixzz3eauv1N71 )