Friday, January 15, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage

(Stand to Reason) by Greg Koukl

Either there’s a natural teleology to marriage or there’s not

Who are you to say?”  That challenge works both ways.  First, if my disapproval isn’t legitimate, then why is my approval legitimate?  If I don’t have the right to judge something wrong (“Who are you to say?”), I certainly don’t have the right to judge it right (“Who am I to say?”).  Second, why is it that I can’t make a moral judgment here, but apparently you can?

The appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality.

You invite me to make a moral judgment, then you challenge my right to make a judgment when I don’t give the answer you want.  Who am I to judge? You asked for the peoples’ moral opinion by asking for the people to vote on an initiative giving homosexual unions equal status with heterosexual unions.

Why should homosexuals be allowed to marry?  Because it’s “fair.”  In what sense is the present situation unfair?  Because homosexual relationships don’t get legal/social recognition equal with heterosexual relationships.  You’re right, they don’t, but why is that unfair?  Because those relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships?  But that’s the very thing under dispute.

If there is no natural teleology to marriage and families, then the definition of marriage is simply a matter of convention.  We can define it how we want.  Now, I don’t accept that view, but even if I did, this doesn’t help homosexual marriage.  Society has voted, and they’ve voted it out.  On what grounds do you appeal for a change?  Moral grounds?  You’ve surrendered that opportunity when you claim that there is no right or wrong definition of marriage.  If so, I have no moral obligation to opt for one view over another.   If marriage is merely defined by society, well then, we voted and defined it as one man and one woman.  You asked for a social consensus, you got it. 

Second, if marriage is merely what we define it then what keeps us from expanding the definition of marriage beyond the inclusion of homosexuality to other kinds of relationships?  Can I marry my daughter, or another man and his wife?  Can two men marry the same woman simultaneously?  Believe me, these aren’t outlandish examples.  There are already groups moving for further redefinition if that’s all marriage is.  There is no limit to how marriage might be defined in this view.

The only way a claim of injustice or unfairness can stick is if we have a moral obligation to view all sexual or emotional combinations as equal.  But that depends on an objective standard, and that is a concept already jettisoned when society is asked to define marriage as they wish.  If there’s a moral standard of fairness to appeal to, then there’s a moral standard for marriage to appeal to, as well.


Chris said...

This is a helpful line of reasoning that can assist us when speaking with those in favor of same-sex marriage. The examples are both real and valid and cut to the issue at heart. Great post, thanks for your work to bring holistic godly living to the popular masses by well constructed reasoning and thought provoking questions. Keep up the good work.

BallBounces said...

Greg Koukl is scary-smart. Proponents of same-sex marriage are looking for equality in law where none exists in-fact. Elevating same-sex relationships diminishes the natural right of a child to know the love of both her mother and father. Marriage is not a heterosexual institution; it is an institution rooted in human biology -- regardless of one's sexual orientation. And homosexual individuals have exactly the same social and legal access to it as anyone else.