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The Reasons Why Marriage is Inherently Heterosexual

That is the title of an essay authored by Patrick Lee, the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair in Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville and the director of the Witherspoon Institute’s Program on Bioethics and Human Dignity. Here are some excerpts from the essay:

In the December 15th edition of Newsweek, both Jon Meacham in his editor’s note and religion editor Lisa Miller in her front-page article mock arguments from scripture. At the same time, they invoke that same Bible’s authority for a “more general” message of “inclusivity,” in order to lobby for making gay marriage a sacrament. Meacham and Miller paint all opposition to the radical re-definition of marriage as hateful bigotry, comparing it to racism, and labeling appeals to the authority of the Bible against homosexual “marriage” and homosexual acts as fundamentalism. Indeed Meacham goes further: it is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” How much worse than suicide-bombings and beheadings he does not make clear.

Others can dissect the theological and factual howlers in these essays. Here I want to correct the assumption made by Meacham and Miller that the case against same-sex “marriage” must be a Biblical one. Instead, both by faith and by reason one can see that genuine marriage must be heterosexual, that sexual acts outside of marriage are immoral, and that the state, therefore, should not declare any same-sex unions “marriages,” nor actively encourage sexual acts outside of marriage....

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” often argue that since marriage is a community oriented to raising children, and same-sex couples sometimes do raise children, such couples should qualify as marriages. But if having the purpose of raising children were sufficient to qualify as marriage, then orphanages, and some groups of religious women or men, could also be labeled as “marriages,” which is absurd. Likewise, other arrangements are sometimes called “marriage,” but in reality these are different types of relationship. For example, men and women often cohabit and view children as an optional extra or as burdens to be avoided. Or two or more individuals sometimes form alliances for the sake of raising children (for example two sisters, or several celibate religious men or women). But neither of these relationships are marriages: they have distinct purposes or goals.

Other advocates of same-sex “marriage” view marriage as only an emotional relationship, and the sexual acts as extrinsic symbols of that emotional connection. Since same-sex couples can intend their sexual acts to symbolize their love or affection, these unions (they contend) qualify as marriages. But, as just noted, genuine marriage is in fact a multi-leveled relationship that encompasses the bodily, emotional, volitional, and intellectual aspects of the spouses. In genuine marriage the bodily sexual acts are part of the marital union, not just extrinsic symbols. In sexual intercourse between a man and a woman (whether married or not), a real bodily union is established. Human beings are organisms, albeit of a particular type. In most actions—digesting, sensing, walking, and so on—individual male or female organisms are complete units. However, with respect to reproduction, the male and the female are incomplete. In reproductive activity the bodily parts of the male and the bodily parts of the female participate in a single action, coitus, which is oriented to procreation (though not every act of coitus actually reproduces), so that the subject of the action is the male and the female as a unit. Sexual intercourse is a unitary action in which the male and the female complete one another, and become really biologically one, a single organism. In marital intercourse, this bodily unity is an aspect of, a constitutive part of, the couple’s more comprehensive, marital communion....

What does all of this mean for public policy? In a well-ordered society, the state should give legal recognition to real marriage, promote it, protect it, and privilege it over other sexual arrangements—as a good for the spouses and the children their union may form. The state has an essential interest in the health of marriage. Generally speaking, children will receive the best and most loving care if they are raised by their biological parents, who have formed a community aimed at providing the most suitable environment for any children they may help bring into being. Almost always, children can count on their mothers to care for them when they are young; the institution of marriage is dedicated to ensuring, as much as possible, that fathers also will fulfill their responsibilities to the children they help procreate, and to the mothers of their children. Furthermore, where the institution of marriage is strong, people’s sexual passions and energies—frequently difficult to control, often leading to self-centeredness and exploitation—are channeled toward intelligible goods, namely, marriage and family.

If the state declares same-sex unions to be equivalent to marriage, it will profoundly obscure the nature of marriage. In effect, it will send the message that marriage is centrally about the romantic attachment and sexual relationship of adults to each other rather than about a relationship which by its nature is oriented to and suited for becoming family. Doing that would almost certainly further weaken the institution of marriage.

Read the entire essay here.

Comments (32)

Despite appearances from the last thread I posted in, I actually share your mistrust of the public reason argument.

That being said, isn't it rather naive to believe that these vaguely Aristotelian arguments are going to hold water with anyone but the choir? Does Patrick Lee believe his arguments are convincing to people outside his circle of pop-Thomists, anymore than a litany of scripture quotes would be?

As an alternative view - this blog could always use more materialism - marriage is as marriage does. There is no Platonic form of marriage. In our culture, marriage is a purely personal relationship between two people who love each other. Marriage has been this way for decades. The increased socio-economic status of women has contributed to this, as have the obvious cultural shifts of the 20th century.

None of us - none of us, including contributors to this blog - experience marriage in a "traditional" way. "Traditional marriage" has not been "traditional" for at least 2 generations.

If Aristotelian arguments have no purchase, then no others will, inasmuch as the attempt to craft arguments for moral traditionalism on liberal premises is a fool's endeavour, the discourses being largely incommensurable.

If, moreover, marriage just is as marriage does, than why are some homosexuals so adamant that they be accorded a mere nominalistic signifier, and that the remainder of the population acknowledge this wordplay as the fulfillment of some quasi-eschatological process of liberation? If marriage is as marriage does, then the term itself bears no intrinsic, irreducible meaning, from which it follows that the struggle over the term itself is the quintessence of pointlessness, a narcissistic contestation of nothing. Homosexuals who wish for themselves a legal recognition of partnerships they intend to be more than transitory can contract such unions privately, and eschew the shadow-play.

But they don't, for the most part, but intend to contest the nature of marriage until the prevail, which suggests that they themselves either ascribe some transcultural significance to marriage or are simply engaged in nihilistic posturing. I'm going with option number one, myself.

I think Auster has made one of the shrewdest remarks about all of this lately, apropos of a proposal he cites to abolish marriage in favor of civil unions for everyone (heterosexual and homosexual): The liberal goal is to destroy some good thing altogether rather than to allow some people to have the good thing while others don't. Now it's marriage. And really (says I), homosexual "marriage" is just another word for or step on the way to the abolition of marriage.

If, moreover, marriage just is as marriage does, than why are some homosexuals so adamant that they be accorded a mere nominalistic signifier, and that the remainder of the population acknowledge this wordplay as the fulfillment of some quasi-eschatological process of liberation?

People live, fight and die for "merely" nominalistic signifiers all the time.

All quasi-eschatological processes of liberation involve battles over empty signifiers. So too does all reaction against these processes. There is nothing "mere" about any of it.

So, Mike, would you say that the reason homosexuals are so concerned to get this nominalistic signifier--redefined to refer only to a sexual relationship between two people to which the state happens to give official recognition--applied to their relationships is that they wish to bring about widespread societal approval of their relationships and they see this terminology as a means to that end? Because if so, I agree with you.

So, Mike, would you say that the reason homosexuals are so concerned to get this nominalistic signifier--redefined to refer only to a sexual relationship between two people to which the state happens to give official recognition--applied to their relationships is that they wish to bring about widespread societal approval of their relationships and they see this terminology as a means to that end? Because if so, I agree with you.

I would quibble a little - I think this isn't so much about recognition of the relationship as it is recognition of the people involved.

**All quasi-eschatological processes of liberation involve battles over empty signifiers. So too does all reaction against these processes. There is nothing "mere" about any of it.**

The homosexuals, in some cases out of ignorance (there are, of course, people, both homo and hetero, who view 'marriage' as a mere descriptive term), but otherwise largely by design, play this both ways. In their propaganda they want marriage to be seen as a "mere" word (since this tack advances their cause), while knowing all the while that the word has far more significance than that. If it were just a word, they'd scrap their fight for it and simply push harder for civil unions.

"The liberal goal is to destroy some good thing altogether rather than to allow some people to have the good thing while others don't."

Since to liberals tearing down walls is a good thing, they seldom put any time or effort into determining whether a given wall is a load-bearing one or not.

No, Mike, that can't be correct. For one thing, if a person with a homosexual orientation does not presently have a homosexual partner, or does not have one to whom he wishes to make a life commitment, then obviously he does not ask to be declared "married." So clearly the recognition they seek that is afforded by the term "marriage" is a recognition and approval not for themselves as isolated individuals but for the relationship of two of them to one another. Even legally speaking, the designation of "marriage" is given to a group of two and to some particular two, not to the individuals separately as being married to someone-or-other-we-don't-know-to-whom.

For another thing, there could be many ways to recognize the value of a person with homosexual orientation without giving the implicit approval to his sexual activities and relationship that is given by the term "marriage," so, again, this particular type of recognition is a recognition and approval of the person qua sexually active in a homosexual relationship, not of the person all by himself.

Doubtless you wish to make that particular quibble because you wish to treat homosexual orientation as essential to a person, as normal, and its extension into a state-recognized committed relationship called "marriage" as a right that flows directly from one's individual nature. But even if you were right (and of course I don't consider you to be right) the designation of the relationship by the term "marriage" is irreducibly a recognition _of the sexual relationship_, not simply some sort of statement about separate individuals.

Hi Lydia, I think Mike is on to something that escapes your view, although in what you've said and how you've said it you make logical sense. Where I think you may be missing why Mike says what he says is in the area of the dynamic of homosexual relationships. Lifelong committed[monagomous] relationships are a myth in the homosexual community/lifestyle. There really are only individuals seeking approval, not couples. They are neither devoted to each other or society as a serious lifelong pursuit.

It has been said that if not for "no fault" divorce, the gay community wouldn't even be interested in "marraige" at all. I rue the day that the civil authority didn't protect marraige when in the guise of protecting individuals, they subjected all of society to the woes brought about by the promoting of millions of broken families.

People can quibble over statistical information, like the homosexual community will speak of statistics of lifelong committed relationships *demonstrating* that they are no different than heterosexual couples. This can be proven to be false easily, and most gay men will readily admit of promiscuity in their "committed" relationships. Mere wordplay here. The whole debate is based on wordplay, and the arguments breakdown will a little inspection. I found this:

http://www.narth.com/docs/istheregene.html

to be quite informational and entertaining as well. In this article, they mock the proving of gayness being genetic by proving that basketball players are "born that way" also.

Rob, I like the way you said this:

"Since to liberals tearing down walls is a good thing, they seldom put any time or effort into determining whether a given wall is a load-bearing one or not."

It is a good simile in this particular debate, since a society will not survive at all if some of it's good behavior is not protected and promoted.

Statistically, Brad, I think you're doubtless right. What I was chiefly seeking to counter was the smarmy implication that "all homosexual marriage is" is a "recognition of people," as though if you reject designating homosexual relationships as "marriages" you are being a meanie and hating, rejecting, wishing ill to individual persons. Now it's obvious by sheer logic that nothing calling itself "marriage" can in the nature of the case be a mere recognition of an individual. Minimally, we are recognizing _two_ individuals and some relationship or other that they bear to one another. Moreover, no one seeks homosexual "marriage" with someone to whom he has no sexual relationship and never intends to. Marriage is a recognition of a _sexual_ relationship. (We don't call a brother and sister who have no sexual feelings for one another and live under the same roof to save on the bills "married," nor would anyone seek to do so.) So it is sheer duplicity on the part of Mike or any other advocate of homosexual "marriage" to "quibble" or in any way try to deny that what this is about is getting people to give some sort of societal official-ness, approval, etc., to homosexuals *insofar as they do not intend to remain celibate*, i.e., to homosexual sexual intercourse. So it isn't just about accepting, showing love and kindness, etc., to individual persons.

On all of this, of course, I'm sure that you and I, Brad, are in agreement.

Hi Lydia, I wonder if "marraige" became attractive, or attainable to homosexual couples as the breakdown of the heterosexual civil marraiges appeared to be so transient in nature that it became appealing to those who've no intention of lifelong commitment. In other words, if the institution of marraige had been protected, nurtured and the vow "til death do us part" was esteemed and meaningful, we most likely wouldn't be dealing with the current situation.

Hi Mike, would you give me a definition of "traditional marraige"? What are the distinguishing marks of a "traditional marraige"?

The homosexuals, in some cases out of ignorance (there are, of course, people, both homo and hetero, who view 'marriage' as a mere descriptive term), but otherwise largely by design, play this both ways. In their propaganda they want marriage to be seen as a "mere" word (since this tack advances their cause), while knowing all the while that the word has far more significance than that. If it were just a word, they'd scrap their fight for it and simply push harder for civil unions.

This is a severe misunderstanding of the debate. No serious voice in this debate considers "marriage" to be nothing other than an entry in a dictionary (any at all? I've never even seen a ranting teenager on Youtube take up the position you're describing here). Marriage is a position within our culture's symbolic framework - we are arguing over the content of that position.

No, Mike, that can't be correct. For one thing, if a person with a homosexual orientation does not presently have a homosexual partner, or does not have one to whom he wishes to make a life commitment, then obviously he does not ask to be declared "married."

I actually did mean something like what you've said here, because it is indeed the case. Look at it this way: how many people, in the course of their lives, ever actually exercise their rights? How many people genuinely exercise their right to free speech? How many people simply don't care about voting?

Even if someone is politically apathetic, they are still recognized as adult persons who may exercise those rights. Even if someone is unattached, they are still recognized as an adult who may exercise the right to get married.

My only interest in gay marriage is as a strategic matter for the popular left. Why a heterosexual would have any other interest in it, I don't know, and I'm not really willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn't describe it as cruelty - rather, it is utter pettiness. Being anti-gay marriage is frankly childish.

Doubtless you wish to make that particular quibble because you wish to treat homosexual orientation as essential to a person, as normal, and its extension into a state-recognized committed relationship called "marriage" as a right that flows directly from one's individual nature.

Uh, I think this position would obviously contradict my previous statement that marriage is an empty signifier. So no, you're wrong.

Brad, welcome to the 21st century.

**This is a severe misunderstanding of the debate. No serious voice in this debate considers "marriage" to be nothing other than an entry in a dictionary**

Some, even most, may not actually consider it as such, but they do use that line of thought implicitly in certain debates as a sort of extension of the 'a-marriage-license-is-just-a-piece-of-paper' argument that was so popular in the late 60s/early 70s. My point is that homosexuals will play either side of this card in their rhetoric, depending upon which side furthers their cause at a given moment and/or with a certain audience.

Really, Mike, it would be nothing less than an attempted deception (and a clumsy one at that, by which no one is likely to be taken in) to claim that the push for homosexual "marriage" has nothing to do with seeking societal recognition and approval for homosexual relationships. The analogy to voting would be correctly carried out if you tried to argue, non-sensically, that because some people don't vote, the right to vote has nothing to do with, you know, voting.

There is nothing petty about opposing homosexual "marriage" given that one believes, as I do, that a homosexual orientation is objectively disordered and that homosexual intercourse is seriously morally wrong. Obviously under these circumstances I am going to oppose the strategic agenda of the cultural left (!) in trying to normalize the behavior and force the rest of us to recognize it as normal and to pretend that homosexual relationships are or can be morally or culturally equivalent to marriage between a man and woman.

It would make more sense openly to acknowledge that we have a culture war issue on our hands of fairly major significance than to pretend that the issue is something other than what it is.

Some, even most, may not actually consider it as such, but they do use that line of thought implicitly in certain debates as a sort of extension of the 'a-marriage-license-is-just-a-piece-of-paper' argument that was so popular in the late 60s/early 70s. My point is that homosexuals will play either side of this card in their rhetoric, depending upon which side furthers their cause at a given moment and/or with a certain audience.

I'll repeat that I've never seen anyone use the "just a piece of paper" argument. Where are you seeing this? I'm not asking for specific cites, just a general idea. Blogs? TV commentators? Your many gay friends?

Even if people are using that argument, I would say they are misinterpreting their own position. Grasping at whatever straws they can to express a position.

Really, Mike, it would be nothing less than an attempted deception (and a clumsy one at that, by which no one is likely to be taken in) to claim that the push for homosexual "marriage" has nothing to do with seeking societal recognition and approval for homosexual relationships.

I'll admit, the distinction I'm drawing is a subtle one. There are plenty of pro-ssmers who would agree with you. I just have a serious disdain for identity politics, so my interpretations of situations avoid using that language.

There is nothing petty about opposing homosexual "marriage" given that one believes, as I do, that a homosexual orientation is objectively disordered and that homosexual intercourse is seriously morally wrong. Obviously under these circumstances I am going to oppose the strategic agenda of the cultural left (!) in trying to normalize the behavior and force the rest of us to recognize it as normal and to pretend that homosexual relationships are or can be morally or culturally equivalent to marriage between a man and woman.

And this goes back to my very first comment. They already are equivalent. Marriage was emptied of its last heterosexual requirements by the pill.

And as I have pointed out several times now (though maybe you weren't around in that thread), nobody else usually knows, nor can one know simply from looking at the couple, whether some given heterosexual couple is or isn't using birth control, NFP, just happens to be infertile, or the woman is at this moment pregnant but not yet showing. Culturally speaking, and as a symbol (and were you not just talking about the non-mere-ness of symbols?), the heterosexual couple has an entirely different meaning from the homosexual couple regardless of their fertility status. Even if they are using birth control, accidental pregnancy can still occur. That isn't even possible in homosexual intercourse. And most heterosexual couples do have some children at some time. Finally, and relatedly, the person who treats a heterosexual couple as married is giving no endorsement by that very fact to acts he considers immoral, whereas someone who considers homosexual intercourse immoral is being forced to do so ipso facto when he is forced to treat the homosexual couple as "married."

Hi Mike, your position is somewhat of an "all or nothing" attitude, seeming to put procreation as the sole purpose of or significance of marraige. There have been birth control methods long before the pill anyway, did those efforts disolve the value of the union in your mind?

A few other considerations:

1 Men are different when they become married persons, more stable, caring, less reckless, less predatory, more civilized. This effect is more so when their own offspring enter the picture. This byproduct of unity between man and woman is not exibited in homosexual unity, nor can it be as I think it's been stated in the above article, although subtley. This is also exibited in the promiscuous-ness of the so called "homosexual union". That union is not really a union at all in the sense of completedness.

2 The "gay" lifestyle is not one to be promoted as good since it's fraught with physical and mental aspects that one shouldn't wish on his enemies. It is not a show of care that one would take down the road block and allow people to pass where they ought not go--even if they dont see the danger themselves. And I dont want my culture/society to send the signal to my children or those in my society that this option is some kind of equal *other* option.

3 This particular act seems to be a higher level of offense against the image of God, and thus against Him. Do I really care if those engaging are not cognizant of this[?], no, I dont. Because some are blinded, ignorant of the severity of the offense, I cannot sit back and not speak against homosexual acts without bearing responsibility of judgement and failing to "love my neighbor as myself". It is not hate, but love to oppose homosexuality as a behavior.

Culturally speaking, and as a symbol (and were you not just talking about the non-mere-ness of symbols?), the heterosexual couple has an entirely different meaning from the homosexual couple regardless of their fertility status.

Did you mean to say biologically speaking? If you didn't, this is just question begging.

Finally, and relatedly, the person who treats a heterosexual couple as married is giving no endorsement by that very fact to acts he considers immoral, whereas someone who considers homosexual intercourse immoral is being forced to do so ipso facto when he is forced to treat the homosexual couple as "married."

Aside from legal matters such as providing insurance as an employer, how on earth could you ever be forced to treat a homosexual as married? Can you offer an example here? Are we talking about a son bringing home a boyfriend, asking you to acknowledge him as such?

Brad,

1. This "civilizing" effect of heterosexual relationships is just the flip side of the "boys will be boys" excuse, which simply does not fly anymore. We're all perfectly capable of taking responsibility for ourselves, gay and straight alike.

2. The various physical problems gays face can be explained by the extreme social pressure they have faced, producing a certain self-destructiveness. Gays have rough lives. This is not "blame society" or "gays will be gays" - harsh circumstances produce harsh people.

3. How many references to homosexuality are there in the Bible? Less than a dozen. So why is this a "higher level of offense" against God, given that (by comparison) there are hundreds of verses concerning the use of money?

"Even if people are using that argument, I would say they are misinterpreting their own position..."

Which was sort of my point. I've seen it occasionally on blogs when gays talk amongst themselves. And on TV as well. I'm not saying it's super prominent. But it's definitely there. They want to be able to marry, but not because they see marriage as any great and holy institution. And of course they shouldn't really come out and say that, lest straights come to realize what the whole thing's really about, but at times they do. The homosexuals embrace marriage because it's something the straights have but they don't. But their embrace of it, like that of a boa constrictor, has the effect of killing the institution, or at least hastening its demise.

Going back at least to the Shelleys & Godwins, the progressive free-thinking left has been anti-marriage. I don't see progressive free-thinking leftist gays as being any different.

Did you mean to say biologically speaking?

What I meant to say is that heterosexual couples have a different cultural meaning from homosexual couples _because of_ their biology. How many mothers-in-law ask in a roundabout way, "When are you going to give me grandchildren?" The very biological possibility, and the fact that it is so often realized, is just one aspect of the way in which the biological facts of the heterosexual relationship influence its cultural meaning.

Aside from legal matters such as providing insurance as an employer, how on earth could you ever be forced to treat a homosexual as married?

First, I don't know why we should talk "aside from" those legal matters. Employers have moral, cultural, and religious beliefs, just like other human beings. So, yes, providing "spousal benefits" for your homosexual employees. But there are many, many others. I only have time even to think of a few to list: Writers for newspapers being required to refer in stories to homosexual partners as "spouses" or "husbands." Newspapers being required to include homosexual pictures and announcements in their "weddings" section. Photographers being forced to take "wedding pictures" of homosexual "weddings" or else be sued, and being forced as part of lawsuit settlements to apologize in public for refusing or even expressing hesitation about treating homosexual union ceremonies as "weddings." Ditto for printers printing wedding announcements. Ditto for wedding planning services and for all hotels--including small family businesses, B & B's, etc.--offering "honeymoon suites." Christian schools, or any schools, being required to treat both members of a homosexual couple as the parents of a child, even if one is the biological parent (as in the case of a lesbian couple) and the other has not even legally adopted the child and hence has (and obviously has) no relationship to the child other than being the sexual partner of the child's mother. Judges being required by law to arrange joint custody for children when such couples divorce. Catholic charities being forced out of business for refusing to place children for adoption with homosexual couples. All colleges that offer married student housing, including Christian schools, being forced to assign such housing to homosexual couples. Any property owner who states that he wants to rent to a married couple being forced to treat homosexual couples as such. Parents who send their children to public schools and are told that homosexual "families" will now be represented as normal as part of the curriculum and that no parental opt-out is available, because homosexual "marriage" is now the law and this is about "normal life," not about sex. Public school teachers who receive such orders for incorporating homosexual relationships, references, and terminology (such as referring to men as "married" to each other) into their regular curriculum and conversation with their pupils.

I could go on even longer but might as well stop there.

"How many references to homosexuality are there in the Bible? Less than a dozen. So why is this a "higher level of offense" against God, given that (by comparison) there are hundreds of verses concerning the use of money?"

I would surmise this has something to do with the fact that marriage and family are the institutions most associated with the transmission of life. Society cannot long endure unless they are protected. Secondly, homosexual behavior is not as widespread as commerce, so it follows that matters of economic justice would be more frequent in the Scriptures.

Look at what the liberals did to low-income whites and minorities in the 60s-80s with their welfare policies: they nearly destroyed the institution of marriage in the inner cities. The gay agenda is similarly misguided ...

Mike, those responses to the added consierations I gave above are sorely inadequate. Here's where I think you fall short in each one.

1, the gay community as a group of people have NOT demonstrated the kind of devotion toward their significant other that heterosexual people do. The taming nature is such that it is an inner law at work, not an external imposition of responsibilities like you aver. Gay men do not demonstrate selfless devotion, it's more like selfish devotion. This point is highlighted by you when you said:

"We're all perfectly capable of taking responsibility for ourselves, gay and straight alike."

It's all about the individual for the gay man, and it's all about the family/spouse in a large percentage of hererosexual relationships. There's a huge diference in context for the straight man vs. the homosexual.

2, Resolving to not feel guilty, does give relief to some pressures of those that find themselves in the position of same sex attraction. But, there is ample evidence that even those who've given themselves over to the lifestyle do not do well physically or mentally. It's just not the environment that's causing the problems-[like the violence, health problems, early death, drug and alcohol abuse.] I live in So.Cal, and have/had many acquaintances and encounters with openly gay people, some for over 20 years, none of them show signs of having escaped the pitfalls of the lifestyle, none appear truly happy, some are dead, and some have been physically abused where I personally saw the evidence. This includes flaming gay men who dont have the sense to act appropriately and women who've tried to set up house together only to fail within 3-5 years when the butch abuses her "lover". Then there are the few cases where affluent men have set up house together to show how normal they can live in an open relationship--failures in only a few years. Even in the midst of one of these attempts, I was propositioned by one man while I was working at the house. This runs too far and too wide to blame on the environment.

3, there are a lot more than a dozen scriptural references that speat to this issue if you look. The offense is great because it warranted the death penalty.[like adultery, sex with animals, and idol worship] I believe it's a particularly grievous offense because it's a sign that God has given a culture over to their own lusts as they deny Him. I dont see adultery or sex with animals to be any less of an offense and personally cringe the same way at divorce.

The very biological possibility, and the fact that it is so often realized, is just one aspect of the way in which the biological facts of the heterosexual relationship influence its cultural meaning.

We plainly live in a time in which life is not a race to reproduction. Childless couples are culturally possible now, in a way they never were before. Isn't this part of the reason that wretched fools like Mark Steyn blather on about demographic apocalypses?

In your list, there is only one that is problematic - the Catholic charities going under. The rest is a pile of Thomas More wannabe whining about one of two things: refusing business, or refusing to accept a plain legal fact.

Only those whose morality tends towards the obnoxious busy-body end of things will be affected by your list of consequences - and busybodies always either shutup (to no one's loss) or change their minds with a little pressure. Obviously that last sentence sounds harsh, but the handful of people out there who both believe homosexuality is wrong and are not busybodies will not be affected by your list.

It's all about the individual for the gay man, and it's all about the family/spouse in a large percentage of hererosexual relationships.

Then stop attempting to prevent gays from getting families and spouses, and lets see what happens.

Brad, we don't expect heterosexuals to earn the right to get married. Also, if you have a problem with unmarried gay behavior, then maybe letting them get married (and adopt) will solve that problem. You're saying people follow pattern X when unmarried? Then let them get married, for crying out loud.

there are a lot more than a dozen scriptural references that speat to this issue if you look.

Really? Does these additional verses require... interpretation?

The rest is a pile of Thomas More wannabe whining about one of two things: refusing business, or refusing to accept a plain legal fact.

Ah, I see we've gone from "How on earth could you ever be forced to treat a homosexual as married?" to "Oh, _that_ kind of being forced to treat a homosexual as married. Well, who cares about that? Serves those nasty homophobes right if they're forced to acknowledge a 'plain legal fact'." The gloves are coming off.

Hmm, you think that might be one reason why we "homophobes" want to resist making it a so-called "plain legal fact"? Just maybe?

And busy-body-ness has nothing whatsoever to do with the matter. After all, if nobody knew about the "plain legal fact," then nobody could be forced to acknowledge it, to call these people "husbands" or "spouses," or whatever. Now, could they? So obviously we are talking about going out there and _telling_ people, "I'm legally married, and consider myself married, to so-and-so, a member of my same sex, and you'd better acknowledge our relationship as a marriage in all relevant actions of yours or else." Which obviously has nothing to do with whether the person on the receiving end of this charming communication--explicit or implicit--is a "busybody."

Or, to put it another way, how the heck can you call a wedding photographer who thinks homosexual relationships wrong a "busybody" for wanting to be left alone rather than being forced on pain of being driven out of business to cart his equipment along to a homosexual "wedding" and take pictures of two men kissing one another in celebration of their sexual relationship and validation of it as "marriage"? If that's what you call a "busybody," then you must be using the word in some very unusual sense.

I realize you don't _like_ such a person (perhaps you are "phobic" about him?), but it's just blatant, lying, passive-aggressive fantasy stuff to call him a "busybody" in the service of your own agenda of getting the chance to apply pressure to him to force him to act as you would like him to act.

Mike seems to be assuming that Christians arrive at their beliefs by "reading the Bible." That's like saying that lawyers understand the law by "reading the law." But moral theology, like jurisprudence, cannot be isolated from the community and practices that formed it. If Mike understood this, he would not resort to silly one-liners like "the Bible only mentions homosexuality a couple of times" or something to that affect. Guess what? The Bible never mentions necrophilia or wound sex (What's that?: go to page 22 of my article here: http://homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/neutrality.pdf )

Christian moral theology is a long-standing, sophisticated, and deeply important intellectual and spiritual tradition that is not the result of a bunch of fundamentalists proof-texting the Bible in a trailer somewhere in rural Arkansas, as Mike would like for us to believe. In fact, to present it as such reveals that the judgment of bigotry leveled at the Rev. Warren may be more a projection of his critics. For if they approached this subject with an open mind, they would not continue to prop up straw men that insult the intelligence of anyone who is even moderately well-read on these matters.

Look folks, we live in an age that has abandoned the discipline of reason on matters on which reason should matter most, what is good, true, and beautiful. Ironically, in the name of "privacy" we have relegated these matters to the same level we relegate tastes in ice cream, sports teams, and fashion. Just as it is wrong to morally assess a man's desire for vanilla yogurt, we are told that to suggest that his "special purpose" has a, well, special purpose is wrong as well. Thus, what we've done is tell him that what he chooses to put in his soul is no more important than what he chooses to put in his stomach, and that we, his neighbors, if we are to be good neighbors, shouldn't care.

So, why should it surprise us that in most states it is more difficult to quit the teacher's union than it is to divorce your wife?

We are doomed. St. Benedict, pray for us.

(Can you tell that I've been rereading MacIntyre?)

Mike, civil law marraige isn't the majic pill, the reason heterosexual male behavior changes is because of the union and the nature of that union. This is spoken of in the article above. Whether or not the state sanctions it in civil law is not material to the fact that it does change men. The duty of civil magistrates is to reward good behavior and promote it while punishing bad behavior and discouraging it. This is the civil authority's only interest in this debate. Heterosexual union is good for society, it ought to be rewarded, homosexual union is not good for society, it ought to be discouraged. You say:

"Brad, we don't expect heterosexuals to earn the right to get married."

What you seem to miss is that heterosexual union *did* *earn* the right by long standing historical demonstrations that this type of union between a man and a woman having children and raising them to be good citizens in that type of family unit is good for society.

The history of homosexual union is not one to be proud of nor are the homosexual makers of history today demonstrating anything but selfish contempt for anything that doesn't go their way.

So what if interpretation is involved in unpacking the scriptures, you cannot begin to be taught anything without interpretation. The goal is being truthful and accurate to the intended thoughts being relayed. The biblical case against homosexuality has been demonstrated by able exegetes to make fools of anyone who'd try to argue otherwise. This was shown in the post on this site where the Time magazine article was critiqued to it's embarrasment.

"(Can you tell that I've been rereading MacIntyre?)"

Who's MacIntyre? [or maybe which MacIntyre, not Reba.. :) ]

Francis is currently the Remick Fellow at the University of Notre Dame so one would assume he means Alasdair MacIntyre (a 1980s convert to Roman Catholicism):

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Mark's right! In fact, Alasdair'es office is two doors down from mine! What a country!

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