union  is  not  comprehensive,  because  it  excludes  an  important  part   of  the  identities  of  the  persons


What’s  wrong  with  ‘same-­sex  marriage’?  

   Therefore   to   change   the   legal   definition   of   marriage   to   include   same-­‐sex  couples  would  legislate  a  falsehood  as  well  as  obscure  the   moral  truth  about  marriage.  

By  Paul  Burgess                                (Contributor  to  Embracing  Truth,  see                                        www.handselpress.co.uk)  
       This   paper   argues   that   the   only   form   of   marriage   that   can   be  
meaningfully   enshrined   by   law   is   conjugal   marriage,   “the   union   of   a   man   and   a   woman   who   make   a   permanent   and   exclusive   commitment   to   each   other   of   the   type   that   is   naturally   fulfilled   by   bearing   and   rearing   children   together.”   (-­Harvard   Journal   of   Law   and   Public   Policy,   Vol.   34,   No.   1,   pp.   245-­ 287,   Winter   2010,   from   which   article   the   writer   acknowledges   that   many   ideas  in  this  paper  are  drawn)  

A  brave  new  world?  Or  just  shame?  

         Governments  who  seek  to  please  the  vocal  but  minority  gay  lobby   by   promoting   their   same-­‐sex   equality   agenda   fail   to   realize   that   in   the  process  they  are  undermining  the  norms  of  sexual  relationships   recognized   by   the   vast   majority   of   human   beings   down   the   ages   whatever  the  shortcomings  of  those  who  fail  to  live  up  to  the  norms   of  life-­‐long  commitment  to  faithful  monogamy.  Rather  than  bringing   in  a  brave  new  world  of  justice  and  equality  to  an  under-­‐privileged   minority,   the   government   that   introduces   ‘same-­‐sex   marriage’   will   eventually  bring  shame  upon  itself  when  society  realizes  the  loss  of   what  was  formerly  contributed  to  the  common  good  by  the  ages  old   institution  of  conjugal  marriage.    

The  Humpty  Dumpty  fallacy  

Many   dimensions   of   the   common   good   relating   to   children’s   welfare,  to  the  couples’  stability,  and  to  freedom  of  expression  would   be  threatened.       We  need  a  public  policy  that  serves  the  common  good  by   reinforcing  traditional  family  life          Terri   Kelleher,   writing   in   the   Australian   Family   Association   Journal  (Vol.32  No.2,  2011) rightly  observes:    

Advocates   of   so   called   ‘same-­‐sex   marriage’   claim   that   justice   requires   recognizing   the   equality   of   any   loving   faithful   relationship   to   that   of   a   traditional   marriage;   they   believe   that   ‘marriage’   can,   and   should,   be   extended   to   include   same-­‐sex   couples.     This   however   begs  the  question  of  what  is  meant  by  ‘marriage’.  While  the  push  to   legalize   such   ‘same-­‐sex   marriages’   has   the   powerful   backing   of   leaders   in   government,   what   is   being   proposed   actually   lacks   credibility   both   logically   and   on   pragmatic   grounds,   and   all   this   irrespective  of  any  arguments  based  on  religious  premises.  Any   law,   however,  does  not  change  marriage  itself,  especially  if  it  is  based  on   a   false   conception   of   what   marriage   entails.   What   is   at   stake   is:   what   do  we  mean  by  ‘marriage’?  And  on  what  grounds,  if  any,  should  we   change  a  meaning  generally  accepted  by  civilizations  down  the  ages?  


                         The   comprehensive   heterosexual   union   alone   is   oriented   to   child  bearing  and  rearing  children,  and  is  consequently  oriented   to  permanence  and  exclusivity.  For  although  public  policy  should   not   disregard   the   desires   or   needs   of   individuals,   it   must   primarily   serve   the   common   good.   Marriage   law   currently   does   so   by   fortifying   that   unique   relationship   which   is   naturally   oriented   towards   bringing   forth   children.   At   a   time   when   family   dislocation  weighs  with  increasing  severity  on  families,  we  need   public   policy   which   reinforces,   rather   than   undermines,   the   importance   of   mums   and   dads   sticking   together   in   a   spirit   of   service  to  one  another,  to  their  children,  and  to  the  communities   in  which  they  live.  

The   situation   is   well   expressed   in   another   context   by   a   dialogue   in  Lewis  Carroll’s  Through  the  Looking  Glass:  

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “It means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."    


Legal  construct?    Or  moral  reality?  

           Marriage,  as  it  stands,  makes  a  lot  of  sense.  Let’s  keep  it  that  way!      [Print  version  of  this  paper  available  from:  paulandcathie@gmail.com]  

         Some   will   indeed   argue   that   marriage   is   a   social/legal   construct   created   by   convention,   with   society   deciding   what   components   constitute   its   nature   and   thus   what   defines   its   meaning.   Others   recognize   marriage   as   a   given   human   good   –   a   moral   reality   independent  of  custom,  expressing  a  fundamental  relationship  at  the   heart  of  what  it  means  to  be  human.    


The  ‘simple’  truth  more  complex        

Who  is  right?  Truth  rarely  lies  in  plausible  slogans  and  the  short   superficial  sound  bites  beloved  of  the  media.  Truth  is  more  complex,   being   mined   by   well-­‐developed   arguments   sourced   from   logic,   commonsense   and   the   experience   of   the   ages.   (Men   and   women   of   faith   can   draw   upon   further   evidence   in   their   scriptures   and   traditions,   though   we   are   not   drawing   upon   such   data   here,   lest   charges  of  religious  bigotry  be  raised   by   any  disposed  to  dismiss  out   of  court  the  total  argument  before  it  can  be  sufficiently  developed.)    

         It   is   clear   that   same-­‐sex   marriage   is   an   important   part   of   this         agenda,   whose   protagonists   are   out   to   challenge   every   traditional   belief   about   marriage,   sexual   behaviour   and   even   gender,   so   that   they  can  reshape  our  society  according  to  their  own  radical  ideology   As  Wall  Street  Journal  columnist  Robert  Bork  wrote  back  in  2001,    


  “One  of  the  last  obstacles  to  the  complete  normalization   of   homosexuality   in   our   society   is   the   understanding   that   marriage  is  the  union  of  a  man  and  a  woman.”  

Distinguishing  equality  from  equivalence  not  discrimination!  

 Michelangelo   Signorile,   another   prominent   gay   activist,   is   quoted   in  the  Harvard  Journal  article  as  urging:                    “Same-­‐sex   couples   should   fight   for   same-­‐sex   marriage   and   its   benefits   and   then,   once   granted,   redefine   the   institution   of   marriage   completely,   [because]   the   most   subversive  action  lesbians  and  gay  men  can  undertake  .  .  .  is  to   transform  the  notion  of  ‘family’  entirely.”     Same  sex  marriage  a  minority  demand  

Clear   thinking   is   required   –   that   involves   first   comparing   like   categories   with   like   and   then   distinguishing   between   matters   frequently   confused,   such   as   equality   and   equivalence.   Thus   while   we   might   talk   of   the   equality   of   homosexuals   and   heterosexuals   as   fellow   human   beings,   there   can   be   no   marital   equivalence   when   considering   the   nature   of   their   sexual   relationships   –   one   group   without   innate   potential   for   coitus,   the   other   with   such   potential.   Note  that  to  deny  such  equivalence  is  no  more  discriminatory  than  to   object  to  a  definition  of  motherhood  that  includes  men!  It  is  a  fallacy,   then,   to   assume   that   making   distinctions   is   always   discriminatory.   Thus,   in   law,   distinctions   are   made   as   to   whom   each   law   applies,   Those   who   maintain   that   conjugal   union   is   a   distinctive   characteristic   of   marriage   should   not   be   portrayed   as   discriminating   against   gays   because   they   point   out   that   gays   are   ineligible   for   marriage  by  virtue  of  being  naturally  incapable  of  such  a  union.  It  is   not   simply   a   matter   of   expanding   the   pool   of   people   eligible   for   marriage   to   let   in   homosexuals,   as   a   golf   club   might   be   persuaded   to   admit   ladies   into   membership   without   affecting   the   nature   of   golf.   After  all  we  rightly  discriminate  between  trained  doctors  and  quacks   to  ensure  our  health  and  safety;  similarly,  by  discriminating  against   same-­‐sex   marriage,   in   favour   of   conjugal   marriage,   we   believe   we   are  preserving  the  health  and  stability  of  society.  


       The   homosexual   community   is   a   minority   group   that   packs   a   media   punch   far   out   of   proportion   to   its   numerical   strength.   According  to  latest  scientific  evidence  less  than  1%  of  men  are  life-­‐ long   homosexuals.   Only   a   small   fraction   of   gay   people   are   in   any   sense  monogamous  or  committed  for  life  to  each  other.  Why  should   such  a  small  but  vocal  minority  be  allowed  to  rewrite  the  definition   and  law  of  marriage  for  99%  of  the  total  population?    

Conjugal  marriage  a  universal  age-­old  custom  

           A   study   sympathetic   to   the   gay   agenda   by   Lubin   /   Duncan   concludes,   “The   ‘resistance’   to   same-­‐sex   marriage   is   not   limited   to   ‘Western   culture’   with   its   age-­‐old   ‘anti-­‐homosexual   hysteria   and   bigotry,’  but  extends  to  almost  every  culture  throughout  the  world.”  


Right  to  marry  who?


         To  those  who  demand  their  equal  right  to  the  status  of  marriage,   we  would  point  out  that  while  everyone  has  the  right  to  marry,  that   right  is  not  unrestricted  as  to  who  they  marry:  for  example,  no  father   has  a  ‘natural  right’  to  marry  his  daughter.  It  would  be  ludicrous  to   claim   ‘equal   right’   to   her   when   compared   with   another   (unrelated)   candidate  for  her  hand.  Indeed  he  has  no  right  at  all.  

           Same  sex  marriage  is  an  empty  pretense  lacking  the  fundamental   sexual  complementarity  of  male  and  female.  Like  all  counterfeits,  it   cheapens  and  degrades  the  real  thing.             Marriage   creates   the   most   important   relationship   in   life   and   has   more   to   do   with   people’s   morals   and   civilization   than   any   other   institution.   It   is   a   comprehensive   union   that   involves   the   complete   sharing   of   every   aspect   of   the   lives   of   the   two   persons   involved,   including  bodily  union.    A  union  that  does  not  include    such    a    bodily  

   The   state,   however,   would   no   longer   reinforce   this   notion   that   children   need   both   a   mother   and   father;   that   men   and   women   in   general  bring  different  gifts  to  the  job  of  parenting.    


Conjugal  marriage  designed  with  children  in  mind    


Restrict  parents  from  teaching  their  children  a  traditional  view   of  marriage  

   Parents   in   a   traditional   marriage   also   would,   by   implication,   be   affected  with  regard  to  what  they  tell  their  children  about  same-­‐sex   marriages.   For   once   a   conjugal   understanding   of   marriage   is   scrapped  and,  by  implication,  same-­‐sex  and  other-­‐sex  unions  are  to   be   regarded   as   equivalent   marriages,   the   state   would   have   to   view   those   who   still   support   conjugal-­‐marriage   as   the   only   real   form   of   marriage   as   bigots   who   make   groundless   and   discriminatory   distinctions.   This   would   consequently   restrict   the   rights   of   parents   to  teach  their  children  a  traditional  view  of  marriage.    

Conjugal  marriage  union  is  crucially  different  to  same-­‐sex  union   in   that   it   unites   a   couple   bodily   in   its   conjugal   acts   as   a   reproductive   unit,   whether   or   not   children   are   consequently   born.   This   inherent   orientation   to   the   bearing   and   rearing   of   children   contributes   to   marriage’s   distinctive   purpose   (continuance   of   a   stable   human     society,   of   which   the   family   is   a   microcosm),   structure   (mother,   father   and   child)   and   patterns   of   behaviour   (such   norms   as   permanence,  monogamy  and  fidelity).  

Same-­sex  ‘marriage’  a  romantic  union  only  

Gag  all  dissent  and  undermine  freedom  of  conscience  

   In  so  far  as  church  leaders  would  be  gagged  and  not  permitted  to   criticize   same-­‐sex   marriage   in   their   public   ministry,   it   would   undermine  religious  freedom  of  conscience.  For  if  marriage  is  legally   redefined,  believing  what  every  human  society  once  believed  about   marriage—namely,   that   it   is   a   male-­‐female   union—   will   increasingly   be   regarded   as   evidence   of   moral   insanity,   prejudice,   or   hatred.   This   would   induce   not   merely   'political   correctness'   but   something   approaching  totalitarianism  where  no  dissent  will  be  tolerated.  Thus   in  the  name  of  ‘tolerance’  gross  intolerance  will  reign  supreme.     Gay  Activist’s  agenda  

 Advocates   of   same-­‐sex   ‘marriage’   understand   it   is   essentially   as   an  emotional  union,  an  affirmation  of  love  between  two  individuals.   Since   it   cannot   be   linked   to   organic   bodily   union,   it   is   about   the   union   of   two   people   (of   whatever   sex   either   may   be)   who   commit   to   loving   and   caring   for   each   other   and   to   sharing   the   burdens   and   benefits   of   domestic   life.   It   is   essentially   a   limited   union   of   hearts   and  minds,  augmented  by  sexual  intimacy.  It  cannot  also  be  a  union   of   bodies   since   coitus   is   impossible.   In   this   way   it   lacks   marital   comprehensiveness.   Marriage   is   far   more   than   two   people   contracting  to  love  and  care  for  each  other  for  life.  

 These  two  views  of  what  constitutes  marriage  are  incompatible.   Legal   rulings   may   call   same-­‐sex   relationships   ‘marriage’,   and   the   state  may  confer  the  status,  title  and  benefits  of  marriage  on  same-­‐ sex  unions,  but  in  reality  it  cannot  make  them  marital  any  more  than   it  can  alter  the  natures  of  masculinity  and  femininity  themselves.  

   What  has  brought  about  the  possibility  of  such  a  scenario?  

How  lack  of  complementarity  affects  same-­sex  unions  

Two   decades   ago   Paula   Ettelbrick   stated:   “Being   queer   means   pushing   the   parameters   of   sex,   sexuality,   and   family,   and   ...   transforming  the  very  fabric  of  society.”  

Peter   Tatchell,   one   of   gay   activism’s     leading   campaigners,   once   provided   a   clear   insight   into   the   original   ambitions   of   the   Gay   Liberation  Front  when  he  wrote:       “GLF’s  strategy  for  queer  emancipation  was  to  change   society’s  values  and  norms,  rather  than  adapt  to  them.  We   sought  a  cultural  revolution  to  overturn  centuries  of  male   heterosexual  domination  and  thereby  free  both  queers  and   women.  GLF’s  gender  agenda  has  been  partly  won.”  

           In   a   same-­‐sex   union   the   characteristics   of   only   one   gender   are   contributing   to   the   couple’s   relational   development   and   stability,   where   heterosexual   couples   have   the   advantage   of   both   genders’   input.  A  lack  of  reproductive  connection  also  ensures  that  any  family   created   is   by   an   adoptive   process,   rather   than   a   biological   one;   its   lack   of   gender   complementarity   reflects   more   seriously   on   the   children’s   experience   of   parenthood,   where   only   one   gender   provides  a  role  model  and  where  parental  characteristics  for  rearing   are   limited   to   the   one   gender.   Extensive   studies   have   shown   that   boys  and  girls  need  and  tend  to  benefit  from  fathers  and  mothers  in   different   ways.   In   fact   according   to   the   best   available   sociological   evidence  children  fare  best  on  virtually  every  indicator  of  wellbeing   when  it  is  their  wedded  biological  parents  who  bring  them  up.  


Conjugal  marriage  promotes  the  common  good  


Some  consequences  of  introducing  same-­sex  marriage


   The  children’s  welfare  points  to  why  marriage  understood  as  the   conjugal   union   of   husband   and   wife   is   crucial   for   the  good   of   society   and  should  be  recognized,  regulated  and  preserved  by  the  state.                          The   contributors   to   the   Harvard   Journal   of   Law   and   Public   Policy   point   out   “prudential   reasons   for   the   state   to   enshrine   this   understanding  of  marriage  in  its  positive  law,  and  to  resist  the  call  to   recognize   as   marriages   the   sexual   unions   of   same-­‐sex   partners…   Enshrining  the  moral  truth  of  marriage  in  law  is  crucial  for  securing   the   great   social   benefits   served   by   real   marriage.”   Further,   “The   state’s   favored   conception   of   marriage   matters   because   it   affects   society’s  understanding  of  that  institution.”  

   What  might  be  some  of  the  consequences  of  implementing  the  gay   agenda?      

Induce  confusion  about  the  responsibilities  of  marriage  

Family  stability  and  social  good  

Marriage   creates   the   most   important   relationship   in   life   and   has   more   to   do   with   people’s   morals   and   civilization   than   any   other   institution.   It   involves   moral   privileges   and   obligations   between   people  that  go  far  beyond  the  interests  of  the  couple  themselves  to   include   the   maintenance   of   stability   and   nurture   for   children.   Developing   healthy   family   relationships   prepare   all   concerned   for   responsible   citizenship,   a   good   that   is   in   the   state’s   interest   to   promote.   The   marriage   norms   of   fidelity,   permanence   and   respect   for   the   opposite   sex,   learnt   in   a   monogamous   heterosexual   family   household,  all  make  for  a  healthier  society.    

     Endorsing  same-­‐sex  marriages  as  essentially  an  emotional  union   of   committed   couples   would   obscure   people’s   understanding   about   what   truly   marital   union   involves   as   well   as   tend   to   increase   marital   instability   by   focusing   on   parents’   happiness   rather   than   children’s   well-­‐being.   In   redefining   marriage,   the   law   would   teach   that   marriage  is  fundamentally  about  adults’  emotional  unions,  not  bodily   union     or   children,   and   therefore   not   much   different   from   ordinary   friendships   in   general   that   do   not   require   permanency   or   exclusivity.   This   in   turn   would   confuse   people’s   understanding   of   what  marriage  relationships  entail.      

Lessen  marital  stability  by  stressing  emotional  ties  rather  than   bodily  bonds  

   By   focusing   on   the   mood   of   the   moment   rather   than   either   the   bodily  bond  (one  flesh  union)  that  has  been  created  or  the  long-­‐term   responsibilities   for   rearing   children,   marital   stability   would   be   lessened.      

Deprive  children  of  the  benefits  of  having  both  mother  and   father  

What’s  wrong  with  same-­sex  marriage?  

 The   Harvard   writers   warn   that   “rather   than   imposing   traditional   norms   on   homosexual   relationships,   abolishing   the   conjugal   conception   of   marriage   would   tend   to   erode   the   basis   for   those   norms  in  any  relationship.”  They  document  gay  activists’  ambitions:   by  recognizing  same-­‐sex  unions,  to  make  marriage  “ever  after  stand   for  sexual  choice,  for  cutting  the  link  between  sex  and  diapers”;  their   onslaught   on   monogamy:   to   use   such   legal   recognition   to   “de-­‐ normalize   heterosexual   monogamy   as   a   way   of   life”   for   the   sake   of   “rectifying   past   discrimination   against   homosexuals,   bisexuals,   polygamists,   and   care   networks”;   and   their   promotion   of   ‘open   relationships’:   “There   is   more   likely   to   be   greater   understanding   of   the  need  for  extramarital  outlets  between  two  men  than  between  a   man   and   a   woman.”   Such   statements,   though   possibly   extreme,   alert   us   to   real   dangers   in   the   change   of   attitudes   and   mores   that   many   revisionists  approvingly  expect  same-­‐sex  marriage  to  produce.  

   Children  of  same-­‐sex  parents,  even  though  cared  for  lovingly  and   sacrificially   in   a   ‘family’   context,   would   still   be   deprived   of   either   a   mother   or   a   father,   since   no   mother   can   be   a   father   nor   any   man   a   mother.  Indeed  it  has  been  argued  that  to  deprive  a  child  voluntarily   and   unnecessarily   of   either   a   mother   or   a   father   is   contrary   to   the   child’s   fundamental   rights   and   best   interests.   (See   Margaret   Somerville   (2007)   “Children’s   Human   Rights   and   Unlinking   Child-­‐ Parent   Bonds   With   Adoption,   Same-­‐Sex   Marriage,   and   New   Reproductive  Technologies”,  Journal  of  Family  Studies)  

   As   has   already   been   stated,   research   strongly   confirms   what   is   obvious:   that   parents   brought   up   by   their   own   mother   and   father   do   better   in   educational   achievement,   emotional   health   and   psychological   development;   their   personal   and   social   behaviour   is   also   better   than   those   reared   in   one   parent   or   same–sex   parent   families.   (See   The   Witherspoon   Institute   (2008)   “Marriage   and   the   Public  Good:  Ten  Principles”).  

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