Andrews University Theological Seminary

Something Old, Something New: The Intersection of Civil Morality, Religion, and Gay Marriage in America

A Research Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for CHIS 625 Seminar in Church/ State Thought

by Jason A. Hines December 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter I. II. INTRODUCTION.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 THE RELIGIOUS DEBATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Religious Argument Against Gay Marriage. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 A Pro-Gay Marriage Response. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 III. THE SOCIOLOGICAL DEBATE .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Sociological Argument Against Gay Marriage. . . . . . . . . . . 8 A Pro-Gay Marriage Response. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 IV. THE CIVIL MORALITY/NATURAL LAW DEBATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 The Civil Morality/Natural Argument Against Gay Marriage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A Pro-Gay Marriage Response. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..16 V. CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

BIBLIOGRAPHY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..21

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Gay marriage is one of the most convoluted and divisive social issues in America today. For approximately the last fifteen years, homosexuals have been fighting for the right to be married in civil society. Proponents for gay marriage have been met with considerable opposition from those who consider gay marriage to be sinful, unnatural, disgusting, or destructive to the family unit. The gay marriage debate brings together many different aspects of our society and pits them against each other. This debate causes us to truly consider the ideas of freedom and civil rights, the goals of the political system the Founders created, and the role of religion and morality in public life. The results of this debate from state to state will have a profound impact on religion, politics, and the family. Politics has already been greatly affected. Democrats are largely in support of gay rights, while Republicans are largely against gay marriage. In the past two elections, states conducted referendums against gay marriage (or for traditional definitions of marriage) in several states. In 2004, eleven states voted to ban gay marriage (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah).1 In 2008, two states took center stage in the gay marriage debate. Amendment Two in Florida, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, needed 60% approval to pass and passed with 62% approval.2 The most controversial debate was in California over ballot initiative Proposition 8. Needing 50% to be approved, the proposition passed with 52% of the vote.3

Charisse Jones, “Issues: 11 States Nix Gay Marriage; Calif. OKs Stem-Cell Work,” USA Today, Nov. 5, 2004. 2 Jay Hamburg, “Florida Bans Same-Sex Marriage,” Orlando Sentinel, November 6, 2008. 3 Jessica Garrison and Dan Morain, “Backers Focused Prop 8 Battle Beyond Marriage,” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2008.

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Religious denominations played a substantial role in the passage of Proposition 8. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reportedly gave approximately $20 million dollars in support of Proposition 8.4 Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, came out in support of Proposition 8 and encouraged his members to vote for the Proposition.5 The stance of most religions on the issue of gay marriage has been abundantly clear – marriage needs to be defended as a religious institution and Christians should band together to pass laws to defend marriage from homosexuals. This stance, however, begs an obvious question – Have Christians taken the correct stance on this issue? Have citizens of America taken the right stance on this issue? Three arguments are used to support banning gay marriage. First, Christians tend to make Biblical arguments. They defend marriage as a Christian heterosexual institution, espouse the belief that America is a Christian nation, and therefore believe it is proper to deny homosexuals the right of civil marriage. Second, there are those who believe that the heterosexual nature of marriage is important to the family unit, the creation of children to continue society, and the proper raising of those children. In support of their conclusions, proponents cite social studies claiming that it is better for children to be raised by a mother and father and not by single parents or homosexuals. Third, some scholars argue that there is a civil morality that allows for banning gay marriage. Civil morality is the idea that each society has a shared morality rooted in natural law, not necessarily in any religious tradition. Proponents of this theory say that this shared morality is the reason why many people feel homosexual marriage is unnatural, not necessarily America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Scholars who support this position feel that it is proper to

Nicholas Riccardi, “Mormon Church Feels the Heat Over Proposition 8,” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2008. 5 Tony Barboza and Michael Rothfield, “Schwarzenegger Tells Backers of Gay Marriage: Don’t Give Up,” Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2008.
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ban gay marriage based on this shared morality, regardless of religious or social arguments. This paper will explore these arguments and explain the counter-arguments about why civil gay marriage should be legal.

CHAPTER 2 THE RELIGIOUS DEBATE The Religious Argument Against Gay Marriage Christians make appeals to several Biblical arguments in order to support the argument that gay marriage should be illegal. The first argument is that marriage is a Christian institution. Marriage, according to Christians, was instituted at Creation. In Gen 2 the Bible states, And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him . . . And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man . . . Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen. 2: 18, 21-22, 24) Christians argue that God did not intend for homosexuals to marry because the couple married at Creation was heterosexual and not homosexual. In conjunction with the previous argument, Christians cite the many instances in which the Bible speaks negatively about homosexual activity. Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” God’s feelings on homosexual conduct in Israelite society are very clear from this text. The Bible’s disdain for homosexual conduct is also found in the New Testament. The apostle Paul says in Romans 1: 26, 27

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For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Here Paul (and by connection God) establishes the idea that homosexual conduct is “against nature” and that homosexual acts are both “unseemly” and an “error.” Once again, Christians see these seemingly clear statements about homosexual conduct and deduce that homosexuals should not be able to marry in society because homosexuality is a sin. Christians also cite another example that seems to span both Testaments of the Bible. The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can be found in Genesis 18 and 19 but the story echoes in the New Testament as well. In Genesis 18, God warns Abraham that he will destroy Sodom, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous…” (Gen 18:20) Although there are some homosexual incidents prior to the destruction of Sodom, the Bible in the Old Testament is unclear as to exactly what the “grievous” sins are. The answer to this question is found in the New Testament. Jude 1:7 states, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”6 Jude makes it clear that the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were fornication and going after strange flesh, which is interpreted as shorthand for homosexual conduct. The Christian argument in this instance is that God judges societies who allow homosexual unions. Therefore, society should not allow for gay marriage, which would be the nation’s stamp of approval for this type of behavior.

For some reason, Gomorrah is spelled “Gomorrha” in the New Testament. Future references will used the Old Testament spelling.
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A Pro-Gay Marriage Response There is a religious and a legal response to those who seek to prohibit gay marriage based on religious ideas. The main tenet of the religious argument against a prohibition on gay marriage is found in the idea of God-given free will. God gave Adam and Eve free will in Eden.7 Through the use of free will, people are supposed to choose to live as God prescribes.8 From this idea follows the belief that human beings should not be forced to follow God’s law. There are many examples from both the Old and New Testament that reference the idea that God respects the right of human beings to choose, and even that God would prefer the wrong choice over no choice at all.9 Christians who support a prohibition on gay marriage for strictly religious reasons are seeking to force those who have not decided to follow Christ to live according to His precepts. This idea runs in direct opposition to God’s own design for human beings. Furthermore, the idea is misguided. As opposed to attempting to solve the problem, the Evangelical Christian movement is seeking to solve a symptom of the problem. The problem in citing God’s prohibition on homosexual conduct is that the sin is not gay marriage, but it is homosexual conduct. For example, there is no evidence from the Biblical record that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because homosexuals were getting married. Therefore, even if it were permissible to attempt to add human secular punishments to cajole others to follow God’s law, Christians should be fighting to outlaw sodomy and other homosexual conduct, not to ban gay marriage.

See Gen 3:1-6. See Josh 24:15 and Rev 3:20. 9 See 1 Kings 18:21 and Rev 3:15-16.
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In addition, allowing gay marriage would not be an affirmative law, it would be permissive legislation. Therefore, no homosexual couples would be forced to get married based on the passage of any legislation. Allowing gay marriage would simply be giving homosexuals the option to marry in secular society. For Christians this means that there would still be ample opportunity to end gay marriage in America. Because permissive legislation does not demand that anyone take advantage of its precepts, Christians could still focus on helping individuals deal with the complex and dangerous sin of homosexual conduct. By using their considerable resources and energy on helping homosexuals deal with the sin of homosexual conduct, as opposed to fighting to prohibit gay marriage, the Christian Church might find itself to be more successful in what should be its actual goal – helping people live lives that are in accordance with the will of God. The legal response to those who wish to prohibit gay marriage based on religious principles comes from establishment clause principles. Seeking to prohibit gay marriage based on religious principles is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, which is embodied in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment of the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”10 In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, (1971), the Supreme Court established a three part test to judge whether a law violates the establishment clause of the Constitution. A law violates the Establishment clause if the law is expressly enacted for a religious purpose, if it has the primary effect of advancing religion, or if there is excessive entanglement between the church and the state.11 A gay marriage prohibition passed based on religious ideas would not even pass muster under the first part of the Lemon test. To be sure, any such prohibition can also be seen as having

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U.S. Constitution, Amend. 1. Lemon, at 612-13.

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the primary effect of advancing religion and also would most likely be found to be excessive entanglement between the church and the state as well. In short, a prohibition against gay marriage cannot be supported by religious principles at all. Regardless of the question of whether Christianity actually supports passing secular laws against marriage, our society was established on the idea that church and state should be separate. Therefore, laws passed with strictly religious purposes are unconstitutional. In order to support a ban on gay marriage, proponents must find another rationale other than religious ideologies.

CHAPTER 3 THE SOCIOLOGICAL DEBATE The Sociological Argument Against Gay Marriage Although the vast majority of those who support a ban on gay marriage are religious conservatives, there are those who are against gay marriage who make no appeal to religious arguments. Instead of appealing to religious arguments, they appeal to the sociological arguments about the harm to the institution of the family and the harmful effects on children. As one scholar said, “It’s about the kids, stupid.”12 David Blankenhorn, in his book, “The Future of Marriage,” makes the case that the prohibition against gay marriage is not about discriminating against homosexuals, but concern for the raising of children in the best environment. Blankenhorn argues that allowing gay marriage weakens the institution of the family and uses sociological studies from 35 countries that have allowed gay marriage as evidence. Blankenhorn

Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009.
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found that in countries that allowed gay marriage, the idea of marriage and family as the best option for raising children was not as strong as in countries without gay marriage. Blankenhorn then cites numerous studies that show that the optimal environment for a child is in a home with both biological parents. In fact, Blankenhorn’s proposition is that “Few propositions have more empirical support in the social sciences than this one: Compared to all other family forms, families headed by married, biological parents are best for children.”13 Blankenhorn’s analysis covers such subjects as education, cognitive ability, mental health, and social stability. In each case, children who were raised by their biological parents did better than children from other family structures. In addition to the studies Blankenhorn cites there are other studies that support his conclusions. A study in Australia showed that children raised by married heterosexuals did better than children raised by unmarried heterosexuals and that both groups of children performed better than children who were raised by homosexual couples.14 A similar study showed that teenagers living with their biological parents did better in school than those in single parent homes or in blended families. The last front on which sociology argues against gay marriage is in the lifestyles of homosexuals themselves. Studies have shown that homosexuals are often involved in abusive relationships and have higher rates of sexual transmitted diseases. Homosexuals are also considered to be more sexually promiscuous than heterosexuals, and this lifestyle has been tied to increased rates of depression, eating disorders, and even suicide.15 Those against gay marriage argue that children should not be placed into such volatile homes, where their chance of success

David Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage, (New York: Encounter Books, 2007), 123. Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009. 15 Ibid.
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is diminished. The rights of adults who are seeking their own sexual self-gratification should not be placed above the needs of children, who cannot defend for themselves.

A Pro-Gay Marriage Response The central response to those who rely on sociological studies is that studies can be unreliable for a number of reasons. First, no one can be sure whether these studies show causation or correlation. In other words, these studies do not necessarily prove that the children of homosexual couples do worse than other children strictly because they are the children of homosexual couples, or whether the children’s low test scores are in reality caused by other factors that may not be related to the fact that the children have homosexual parents. It is totally possible that the children of homosexual couples are gender-confused, or less productive in school, or more prone to depression because society is telling children that if their parents are homosexual than their household is somehow not as good as other children’s households. If that were true, then legalizing gay marriage would be the exact answer to making children’s lives better, not legislating against gay marriage. Blankenhorn, however, believes in throwing out the baby with the bathwater; that teasing out the elements of correlation and causation is not an important process. Almost surprisingly, Blankenhorn believes that sexual equality is a good.16 He just believes that the safety and well-being of children is a greater good. However, if there were a way to accomplish both, why would that not be a project that society should consider? Instead of asking the question of how we can protect children and give rights to homosexuals, Blankenhorn is willing to sacrifice homosexuals to save children. Those who support gay marriage as a civil institution disagree. If there is a way to figure out the process so that

Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009.
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homosexuals can enjoy the same civil rights as heterosexuals, then the polity should be willing to go through that process for the sake of the rights and privileges of its citizens. That is the discussion that both sides should engage in, not a shouting match about studies and what they prove or do not prove about homosexual homes. The other problem with relying on studies is that different studies can be found to support both sides of the argument. For over thirty years, several studies have found that children raised in homosexual homes were not detrimentally affected. In the 1970s and the 1980s, studies found that children of lesbian mothers did not have difficulties with gender identity. 17 A 1995 study found that there was no difference in intellectual functioning and behavioral adjustment between children raised in heterosexual homes and children raised in homosexual homes. Furthermore, there were 24 categories in which the two types of children were compared, and 17 of those comparisons favored the children of lesbian mothers.18 In 1999, the American Civil Liberties Union published a fact sheet supporting gay adoption in which it stated, “There is no evidence to suggest that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents.”19 Many of the studies in support of homosexuals previously cited have been undermined by critics for methodology and other problems.20 However, the fact that those studies have been questioned underscores the argument that sociological studies are not a good foundation in this debate. To base the removal of rights and privileges from a group of people based on studies that

Patterson, “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Summary of Research Findings,” in Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), 242. 18 David K. Flaks, et al., “Lesbians Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children,” in Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), 248. 19 American Civil Liberties Union, “Gay Adoption Benefits Society,” in Homosexuality, edited by Helen Cothran (Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2003), 171. 20 Phillip A. Belcastro, et al., “ A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Children’s Sexual and Social Functioning,” in Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), 250.

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can be deemed reliable one day and unreliable the next seems to be an insufficient rationale for what can be described as discrimination against homosexuals. Finally, the argument against gay marriage based on the harm to the family is misguided on three fronts. First, if the problem that upsets family advocates is that children will be placed homosexual homes, then the debate should take place over homosexuals adopting children, not over whether homosexuals can marry one another.21 The two issues are actually separate, and do not have to be considered together, as they are now. Instead of attacking homosexuals who want the civil and social benefits of the ability to marry, they should attack the homosexuals who seek to adopt children. Second, all of the studies cited attempt to prove the point that heterosexual couples are better than homosexual couples in raising children. That may or may not be true. However, even if it is true, that does not mean that homosexual couples are unfit parents, and it does not mean that homosexual parents are worse than having no parents at all. Considering the dire need for foster parents and adopted parents, we should consider having stable homosexual couples become parents for children who so desperately need some level of parenting in their lives. Third, Blankenhorn cites studies attempting to prove that the idea of marriage has decreased in social status in societies that have legalized gay marriage. That may or may not be true. However, there are no studies claiming that these societies have in any way become more unstable because of gay marriage either.22 While the sociological arguments are compelling, these arguments are lacking in making a full and complete case against gay marriage.

In truth, the term “family advocate” actually means “traditional family advocate.” Those who support gay marriage are not against families in general, in fact, quite the opposite. However, it is the definition of the word family that is at issue. 22Lynn D. Wardle, “Legal Claims for Same-Sex Marriage: Efforts to Legitimate a Retreat from Marriage by Redefining Marriage,” 39 S. Tex. L. Rev. 735, 736-37 (1998) quoted in Pamela S. Katz, “The Case for Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage,” Journal of Law and Policy, 1999, 101.
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CHAPTER 4 THE CIVIL MORALITY/NATURAL LAW DEBATE The Civil Morality/Natural Law Argument Against Gay Marriage Scholars provide an additional argument as a way to address the shortcomings of the sociological argument. There is an understanding that the moral arguments used cannot be based on Christian morality, or the morality of any other religion.23 Therefore, supporters of this argument present the concepts of civil morality and natural law to bolster the sociological evidence. As the foundation of the argument stands the proposition that there are moral laws that lie outside the zone of religious morality. For example, laws against public nudity or prostitution do not have any particular roots in religious morals. If society generally agrees that we can legislate these types of activity, then the society admits that there is a sense of shared morality in the society that is not necessarily connected to our Judeo-Christian heritage. The idea of civil or public morality is not new, and does predate Christianity. Public morality can trace its roots back to Aristotle. Aristotle believed that the reason society exists is to promote goodness, not just to promote rules for alliances amongst the citizenry.24 Aristotle argued that men were moved by force and not necessarily by argument; therefore the government had a duty to its citizens to promote goodness. Furthermore, Aristotle believed that men could not be expected to learn how to do the right thing if society does not have the right laws. It is this same idea that is the driving force behind the concept of civil morality and natural law that undergirds this argument.
Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009. 24 Robert P. George, Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality , (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 21.
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The natural question that follows is whether homosexuality then falls under the list of topics that can be legislated by this concept of civil morality. Appealing to the concept of universal norms, scholars examine the natural consequences of homosexual relationships and whether these consequences create a positive environment for the raising of children. The most obvious natural consequence, which clearly runs afoul of homosexuals’ desire to raise children, is that homosexual couples cannot produce children through natural means. 25 Supporters of this position argue that the natural world shows us that a central reason for couples to marry is to birth and raise children. This idea has been posited as the main, if not the only real reason for marriage.26 Therefore, if homosexual couples are not able to achieve this, then they should not be allowed to marry. This conclusion is then supported by the sociological evidence about the vices, abuse and mental problems that plague homosexuals as proof that these relationships, by nature, are more morally depraved than heterosexual relationships.27 Scholars then assert that the combination of these factors creates an environment that children should not be subjected to, and therefore gay marriage should be prohibited.

A Pro-Gay Marriage Response The existence of spheres of civil morality and natural law are concepts that most likely cannot be questioned. However, whether gay marriage is amongst the subjects which should be prohibited because of civil morality is another question. While it is true that the natural world
Of course there are some exceptions to this general rule. Lesbians who were in heterosexual marriages at some point bore children and also those lesbians who were artificially inseminated have born children. The general rule is that there must be the intervention of someone other than the homosexual partner in order for conception to take place. 26 George W. Dent, Jr., “The Defense of Traditional Marriage,” Journal of Law & Politics, Fall 1999, 593; Margaret A. Somerville, “The Case Against “Same-Sex Marriage,”” Brief Submitted to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Pg. 4. 27 George W. Dent, Jr., “The Defense of Traditional Marriage,” Journal of Law & Politics, Fall 1999, 624-25.
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does not allow for homosexual couples to bear children, this is not a sufficient reason to deny homosexuals the right to marry. Homosexuals may not necessarily be entering into the marriage institution to raise children, much in the same way that some heterosexual couples get married without any intention of having children. Homosexual couples, like some heterosexual couples, may be getting married for the societal benefits, or to let society know that they love each other and are pledging their lives to each other. Furthermore, marriage may have benefits even when defined as a love institution. A philosopher has noted that, “Marriage, when conceived as a reflection of the partners' mutual love, serves to enhance each partner's general ability to maximize his or her individual freedom and well-being.”28 Those who support a traditional view of marriage say that “love is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a socially or legally acceptable marriage.”29 While this statement is true, it is also true that the birthing and raising of children is neither a necessary or sufficient condition for a socially or legally acceptable form of marriage. The truth is that the civil construct of marriage is entered into by two parties for any number of reasons and society does not question people’s motives as they decide to enter the institution. Because the civil institution of marriage encompasses more than what natural law can explain, gay marriage cannot be restricted because of the idea that natural law does not give a natural reason for its existence. Furthermore, an examination of natural law can be unreliable, based on the social mores of a particular era. The Founding Fathers, despite their understanding of natural law and religion, still decided to continue to enslave Africans. Natural law also suppressed women until the early 20th Century. In those eras there were people who were convinced that natural law dictated these

Alan Gewirth, Self-Fulfillment, 143 (1998), quoted in Vincent J. Samar, “Privacy and the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage Vs. Unions,” DePaul Law Review, Spring 2005, 792. 29 George W. Dent, Jr., “The Defense of Traditional Marriage,” Journal of Law & Politics, Fall 1999, 591.
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ideological viewpoints.30 Today, people now make the same arguments that natural law dictates discrimination against homosexuals. It may be true that natural law does dictate discrimination of homosexuals. However, it is equally possible that natural law proponents may be wrong about homosexuality, just like natural law proponents were wrong about race and gender. The sociological analysis of the nature of homosexual relationships is also misguided. While the studies cited may be reliable, the studies only prove correlation, not causation. The response to this argument is that Some will argue that these pathologies and instabilities are caused, in some part, by societal discrimination. These arguments overlook the fact that in our coastal cities, where the gay population is the greatest, acceptance of the gay lifestyle has been widespread for many years now. But still the troubling tendencies detailed above persist.31 These statements may or may not be true. However, homosexuality in this society is not an accepted practice, even if it is accepted in our coastal cities. Our coastal cities, as well as the homosexuals who live in them, still exist within this society, and our coastal cities are not sequestered from all other areas of the country. Therefore, homosexuals, even those who live in places where homosexuality has been an accepted practice, would still come into contact with societal discrimination, which would still potentially lead them to exhibit the anti-social behavior that is a possible outgrowth of a society telling homosexuals that their sexuality labels them as inferior outcasts. Furthermore, it is possible that the very solution to the problems that proponents of this argument cite would be to legitimize gay marriage. By legalizing gay marriage, homosexuality

Sarah C. Courtman, “Sweet Land of Liberty: The Case Against the Federal Marriage Amendment,” Pace Law Review, Fall 2003, 315-17. 31 Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009.
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would have a civil social acceptance that may address many of the societal issues cited. Civil marriage would have a stabilizing effect on homosexual relationships. Civil marriage anchors an ordered society by encouraging stable relationships over transient ones, and by trying to prohibit same sex marriage, the state wrongly confers an official stamp of approval on the destructive stereotype that same-sex relationships are inherently unstable and inferior to opposite-sex relationships and are not worthy of respect.32 It is quite possible that homosexuals are promiscuous because society is not encouraging stable relationships for them. It is also argued that universal marriage has a long track record of being a successful social institution while “Gay marriage has nearly a zero track record in this regard.”33 This argument seems to be self-fulfilling prophecy. Gay marriage cannot be decried for having no track record by the very people who are working to ensure that it never has a track record. In short, while arguments for civic morality and natural law advance society to a place where we can begin to consider whether gay marriage should be legislated, it does not bring us to a place where we can definitively say that gay marriage should be prohibited.

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Gay marriage is certainly a convoluted issue. There are many more perspectives to consider that could not be fully examined here. The arguments for natural law and civic morality bring the discussion as far as possible in helping those who support traditional marriage express their ideas without religious arguments. Furthermore, natural law and civil morality arguments
Toni Lester, “Adam and Steve Vs. Adam and Eve: Will the New Supreme Court Grant Gays the Right to Marry?”, American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 2006, 270 33 Nicholas Miller, “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn,” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009.
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also move the argument away from the discrimination arguments that seem to plague those who argue from a strictly sociological or legal viewpoint. However, these arguments do not settle the settle the question of whether it is permissible to prohibit gay marriage. Ironically, although these arguments move away from the religious and sociological positions, a point is reached where the natural law and civil morality arguments have to reach back to either the religious or sociological arguments in order to complete the case for the prohibition of gay marriage. In the end, the debate between the two sides finds itself in the same position despite the entry of this new and novel argument – those who support traditional marriage are still seeking to withhold a right or privilege from some that belongs to others, and those who support gay marriage are still seeking to end discrimination against homosexuals and keep the church out of the state.

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Bibliography American Civil Liberties Union. “Gay Adoption Benefits Society.” In Homosexuality, edited by Helen Cothran, (Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2003), 171. Barboza, Tony and Rothfield, Michael. “Schwarzenegger Tells Backers of Gay Marriage: Don’t Give Up.” Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2008. Belcastro, Phillip A., et al. “ A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Children’s Sexual and Social Functioning.” In Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997). Blankenhorn, David. The Future of Marriage. (New York: Encounter Books, 2007). Courtman, Sarah C. “Sweet Land of Liberty: The Case Against the Federal Marriage Amendment.” Pace Law Review, Fall 2003. Dent, Jr., George W. “The Defense of Traditional Marriage.” Journal of Law & Politics, Fall 1999. Flaks, David K., et al. “Lesbians Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children.” In Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan, (New York: Vintage Books, 1997). Garrison, Jessica and Morain, Dan. “Backers Focused Prop 8 Battle Beyond Marriage.” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2008. George, Robert P. Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). Gewirth, Alan. Self-Fulfillment. 143 (1998). Quoted in Vincent J. Samar, “Privacy and the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage Vs. Unions,” DePaul Law Review, Spring 2005. Hamburg, Jay. “Florida Bans Same-Sex Marriage.” Orlando Sentinel, November 6, 2008. Jones, Charisse. “Issues: 11 States Nix Gay Marriage; Calif. OKs Stem-Cell Work.” USA Today, Nov. 5, 2004. Lester, Toni. “Adam and Steve Vs. Adam and Eve: Will the New Supreme Court Grant Gays the Right to Marry?” American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 2006. Miller, Nicholas. “It’s About the Kids, Stupid: A Review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn.” Adventist Review, forthcoming, Jan/Feb 2009.

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Patterson, Charlotte. “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Summary of Research Findings.” In Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, A Reader, edited by Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997). Riccardi, Nicholas. “Mormon Church Feels the Heat Over Proposition 8.” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2008. Somerville, Margaret A., “The Case Against “Same-Sex Marriage,”” Brief Submitted to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Wardle, Lynn D. “Legal Claims for Same-Sex Marriage: Efforts to Legitimate a Retreat from Marriage by Redefining Marriage.” 39 S. Tex. L. Rev. 735, 736-37 (1998). Quoted in Pamela S. Katz, “The Case for Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage,” Journal of Law and Policy, 1999. http://www.churchstate.org.

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