We’re looking at popular arguments against same-sex marriage (and a few that are just anti-gay). Conservative radio host Frank Turek provides most of the material. (Part 1 here.)
5. Think of the babies!
Frank has an odd but popular view of what marriage is.
The real reason governments have an interest in promoting natural marriage [is] because only natural marriage perpetuates and stabilizes society. Strong marriage laws encourage men and women to procreate and then stay together to mother and father their children.
First off, Frank seems confused about cause and effect. Children are important to society, but give credit where it’s due. It’s sex that makes babies, not marriage. Two people might barely know each other but still start the baby-making process in five minutes, which has very little to do with what we think of as marriage.
Second, Jesus is portrayed in the Bible as the metaphorical husband married to the church. The ideas of joy, love, and protection are used when discussing this marriage, never making babies. Frank needs to explain why his definition is at odds with that in the Bible.
Third, it’s true that government makes laws that protect and encourage stable families. However, there’s a lot more to marriage than just children. For example, society makes laws about divorce, spousal abuse, care of elderly, taxes, control of assets when a spouse is imprisoned or incapacitated, the definition of common law marriage, inheritance, and more that affect marriages with or without children.
Fourth, Frank now has a fun slogan: “it’s not bigotry—it’s biology!” Don’t blame him; we’re bound by the realities of nature. But if it’s all about the biology, wouldn’t you expect to see this biology made plain in marriage vows or in the state’s marriage certificate? The silence screams volumes.
Let’s be consistent about the children. If marriage is all about making and raising children, then don’t offer marriage to straight couples who don’t or won’t or can’t have children. Give a willing couple five years, say, and if they don’t produce, yank the marriage license. Or consider another example: my wife and I won’t be making any more children, so do we deserve to still be married?
If you’re okay with childless straight couples, then be consistent and support gay couples with no interest in children. And if your focus is on the children, support the 40,000 children in California living with same-sex parents, prohibited until recently from getting married.
Children raised in biological two-parent homes tend to do better and cause society much less trouble than children raised in other situations
And let’s not be too quick to rank mom-and-dad households over households with same-sex parents. One study came to the opposite conclusion. That doesn’t resolve the issue, but Frank’s assumption that same-sex households are significantly worse is at least debatable. Anyway, that’s irrelevant—if a woman got divorced, has custody of her child, and is now a lesbian (to take one example), the argument “But your family would be better with a man” is irrelevant.
And I’m surprised at Frank’s preference for biological parents. Doesn’t that undercut adoption as the conservative solution to unwanted pregnancies?
6. Homosexuality is harmful!
Don’t blame Frank for the facts of nature, he says. He reminds us that babies only come from male/female sex (which is clumsy sleight of hand to make us think that the topic is sex rather than marriage).
And then this:
I didn’t make up the fact that we all have desires we ought not act on, regardless if we are born with those desires.
He expands on this idea:
If you are born with a genetic predisposition to alcohol, does that mean God wants you to be an alcoholic? If someone has a genetic attraction to children, does that mean God wants you to be a pedophile? . . .
For the sake of civilization, we all need to restrain our destructive behaviors.
Sure, we have desires we shouldn’t act on—harmful ones. The problem for Frank’s argument is that he does nothing to argue that homosexual desires are harmful.
Continued in part 3.
— what no marriage vow says
(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 1/7/15.)
Image credit: Joost Assink, CC