This is the concluding post looking at popular arguments against same-sex marriage. Conservative radio host Frank Turek provides most of them. (Part 1 here.)
17. Christians are obliged to reject same-sex marriage!
Frank gives society some tough love:
If we celebrate harmful behavior we are being unloving. Love requires we tell people the truth, even if it upsets them.
We’ve already established that homosexuality is no more inherently harmful than heterosexuality (see argument 15). Franks “harm” is simply a caution against unsafe sex.
You can imagine that God creates homosexuals and then somehow is disgusted by his own creation, but it’s curious how God’s views seem to line up so conveniently well with your own—so conveniently that I wonder if you’re playing “God” like a sock puppet.
First show that your severe god and his supernatural world exists. Only then will worrying about his desires make sense. Until then, I have no respect for your fantasy.
18. Society will collapse!
Frank considers same-sex marriage in society and doesn’t like the orgy that he expects it to cause within the straight community.
Legally equating [straight and same-sex] relationships breaks the link between marriage and childbearing which leads to higher illegitimacy and a chain of negative effects that fall like dominoes—illegitimacy leads to poverty, crime, and higher welfare costs which lead to bigger government, higher taxes, and a slower economy.
So same-sex marriage lets slip that it’s actually sex that produces babies, not marriage? That’s already obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention. Frank concludes that this insight will cause straight people to have more sex outside of marriage, and that will produce more illegitimate children, but how does that follow?
Ignoring the incoherence of the orgy argument, it sounds like he’s confusing illegitimate children with unwanted children. Illegitimacy can simply be redefined. If illegitimacy causes problems, encourage society to define the problem away. As for unwanted children, I get it—that is indeed a problem. For that, I urge Frank to stop making abortion more difficult (more here).
19. There is no genetic basis for homosexual desire!
Frank gives us the benefit of his years of research into the biology of homosexuality.
After many years of intense research, a genetic component to homosexual desires has not been discovered. Twin studies show that identical twins do not consistently have the same sexual orientation. In fact, genetics probably explains very little about homosexual desires.
That may be right, but so what? We could wrestle with why someone is homosexual (one source: “Scientists hypothesize that a combination of genetic, hormonal, and social factors determine sexual orientation”) but that’s off topic. Frank wrongly implies from this incompletely answered question that no one is homosexual. I wonder if he’ll next tell us that, since he isn’t left handed, left handedness doesn’t exist.
Though conversion therapy (the conversion of someone from a homosexual into a heterosexual) still exists, its reputation is poor today, and it is illegal in some states. If people call themselves ex-gay and are satisfied with that self-image, that’s fine. Sexual identity is a spectrum, and a bisexual person might see themselves as gay one year and ex-gay the next. Just don’t conclude that homosexuality is bad, that it should be suppressed, or that no one is homosexual.
Exodus International was a Christian ministry devoted to conversion therapy. It operated for almost 40 years before disbanding in 2013. Its president admitted that their work had changed almost no one.
20. But same-sex marriage is unnatural. Just think about it. . . yuck!
[Marriages of this type are] alliances so unnatural that God and nature seem to forbid them.
Hold on. No, that’s my bad. This is actually from an 1878 Virginia Supreme Court decision, and the marriages that so bothered the judges in this case were mixed-race marriages.
But this is basically identical to what modern opponents to same-sex marriage say. Here is the 2003 view of Anglican archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola:
I cannot think of how a man in his right senses would be having sexual relations with another man. It is so unnatural, so unscriptural.
You think gay sex is yucky? What’s yucky is the Christian as imaginary voyeur, peeking through the window into someone’s bedroom to criticize what they’re doing.
Third, let’s not put that much stock in whether something is supported by scripture or not. Slavery, polygamy, and genocide have clear support in scripture. Christians happily condemn those practices today, so the Bible obviously no longer binds us.
Fifth, marriage was invented by humans. It’s changed in important ways in my own lifetime (see argument #3), and the legality of same-sex marriage is just one more change.
Finally, consider IVF, abortions, surrogate mothers, and modern technology that saves the lives of premature infants. Add to that erectile dysfunction pills, birth control pills, morning-after pills, and testosterone pills and tell me that there aren’t plenty of unnatural elements of sex within marriage already. And the focus of marriage laws is to a large extent on unnatural things like property rights.
In the 1996 Romer v. Evans case, the Supreme Court struck down a state law that prevented any local government from recognizing homosexuals as a protected class. It stated, “If the constitutional conception of ‘equal protection of the laws’ [from the Fourteenth Amendment] means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest.” When we consider them, we find that the arguments raised by the anti-same-sex marriage crowd either have no legitimate governmental interest or are simply factually wrong.
To any Christians who may be having second thoughts on their opposition to same-sex marriage, let me suggest a graceful exit. Stop parroting conservative politicians and instead follow the lead of Jesus. We have no record of Jesus scolding homosexuals for what they did between the sheets, but we read much about his concern for the poor and sick. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Homosexuality isn’t a lifestyle choice, but hateful Christianity is.
Despite Obergefell, the June, 2015 Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, Frank Turek is still flogging this dead horse because it benefits him. He has an audience who will pay him to pat them on the head and assure them that their prejudice is not only reasonable but God given.
We can find a parallel in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In the lead-up to the games, Russian president Vladimir Putin caused waves with his anti-gay pronouncements. With Russia in the spotlight, why would he make his country look bad within the international community? But Putin’s intended audience wasn’t the international community; he was grandstanding to the folks back home who rewarded a tough-on-gays attitude.
In a similar way, I doubt Frank cares much what outsiders think. I doubt he expects to convert many liberal Christians to his way of thinking. He just wants to please his conservative Christian constituents. Frank is the anti-gay Pied Piper, leading nervous Christians who are delighted to follow someone who will assure them that the sky is indeed falling and eager to pay for the privilege of being in his club.
If Jesus wants to perform an impressive miracle, he could get these Christians to focus on the actual problems in the world. God knows there are hundreds more important than this one.
“Every human being [already] has the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex”? That’s seriously the empty and heartless sentiment you want to be remembered for, Frank?
History is listening.
“You can’t redefine marriage”
have been trying to redefine “murder” since 1973.
— commenter Sven2547,
referring to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision
(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 1/21/15.)
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