Thirteen Bad Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage
Bad argument No. 12
"Those who resist gay marriage are irrational, Neanderthal, and bigoted."
The gay marriage movement is only a few decades old. Could it be that billions of people who for millennia upheld traditional marriage were really irrational and bigoted? On the contrary, we would argue that a common-sense understanding of life leads in the direction we have argued. Further, it seems clear that reason without religious vision misses the depth dimension of human life. It tends to dissolve basic human institutions into contracts between persons who make whatever they want of them, to the detriment of children and society.
Bad argument No. 13
"The legal issue of gay marriage ought to be left up to the states."
Quite the opposite, we need a national definition of marriage. Without a public definition embodied in a constitutional amendment, activist judges at various levels will undo the conviction of the vast majority of Americans. Some already have, in defiance of state defense-of-marriage acts. Precedent for a national definition is ample—the federal government outlawed polygamy in the 19th century and the Supreme Court has ruled in the 20th century on many cases regarding marriage.
In sum, there are many bad reasons for supporting gay marriage. In contrast, there are many good reasons for protecting historic understandings of marriage, a public institution whose fate will determine the future of our society.
Robert Benne and Gerald McDermott both teach religion at Roanoke College in Virginia. Benne is a lay Lutheran theologian and McDermott is an Episcopal priest.
Copyright © 2004 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Christianity Today's past coverage of the gay marriage debate includes:
The Man Behind the Marriage Amendment | It's just as well that Matt Daniels loves a good fight, because he has a big one on his hands. (Aug. 25, 2004)
A Crumbling Institution | How social revolutions cracked the pillars of marriage. (Aug. 24, 2004)
What God Hath Not Joined | Why marriage was designed for male and female. (Aug. 20, 2004)
The Next Sexual Revolution | By practicing what it preaches on marriage, the church could transform society. (Aug. 27, 2003)
My Two Dads? Not in Florida | U.S. Circuit Court upholds ban on gay adoption (March 11, 2004)
Speaking Out: Why Gay Marriage Would Be Harmful | Institutionalizing homosexual marriage would be bad for marriage, bad for children, and bad for society. (Feb. 19, 2004)
Let No Law Put Asunder | A constitutional amendment defending marriage is worth the effort. (Jan. 26, 2004)
Massachusetts Court Backs Gay Marriage | Christians say gay activists will overturn marriage laws (Dec. 10, 2003)
'A Man and a Woman' | Activists say the Federal Marriage Amendment will be the defining issue in the next election. (Nov. 24, 2003)
The Marriage Battle Begins | Profamily and gay activists agree: Texas decision sets significant precedent. (Aug. 11, 2003)
Canada Backs Gay Marriages | Conservatives say decision could put pressure on dissenting churches. (July 16, 2003)