No topic has grabbed the American media like “same-sex marriage.” It is the new “civil rights” movement. In fact, when the debate over homosexual unions was reframed in the light of “civil rights”, the discussion no longer included questions regarding morality, social values, or long-term consequences. It became a battle for personal rights frequently compared to the evolving struggle reflected in black history.
As a Christian minister I have to analyze the subject from two perspectives. First, the Bible exposes it as sin. When God gave the Law to Moses He commanded, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Lev. 18:22). The apostle Paul instructed, “Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God...nor men who practice homosexuality…” (I Cor. 6:9). Writing to Timothy, the Apostle made a similar statement (I Tim. 1:9-10).
There is another perspective we need to consider; that is, the social perspective. Our communities are filled with people who violate the basic precepts of Scripture. Yet, we do not require our legislators to pass laws against various forms of immorality. For example, adulterers can marry.
The basis of the social perspective rests in the importance of the traditional family (husband, wife, children) to the overall health of society. When the family begins to unravel, social problems multiply. For example, recent studies have shown that 72 percent of black births are to unwed mothers. How does this effect the black community? Statistics released by the NAACP state, “... If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime … African-Americans and Hispanics comprised 58 percent of all prisoners in 2008 ...” Let’s take another illustration, 66 percent of Native American births were to unwed mothers. According to the Indian Health Services the rate of alcoholism among Native Americans is six times greater than the US average.
Why is the traditional family so important to social order? It is in the family that children develop and learn. They need both father and mother for love, discipline, and role identification. Boys grow in their understanding of masculinity, relating to girls, and commitment. Girls develop healthy concepts of their roles and significance in the world. Much of this teaching is accomplished as children witness the interaction between their parents.
Let’s look at same-sex partnerships. According to one major study (Bell and Weinberg), “83 percent of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime. 43 percent estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners; 28 percent with 1,000 or more partners.” Other studies have shown only 4.5 percent of male homosexuals are in relationships lasting longer than 20 years.
When our states legalize same-sex unions, they are redefining the historic concept of traditional marriage. The state is saying these unions are as healthy for our communities as the traditional family. Such a conclusion ignores 100 years of solid social research.
What happens when government places its approval on homosexual marriages? It means that our school systems will be required to teach that homosexual families are equal to traditional families. Young minds will be shaped to believe that male and female role models are unnecessary in the development of children. Homosexual families will be allowed to adopt, to have their own children, to demand a full acceptance of their lifestyle. Anything less would be considered hatred and bigotry. Marriage would be devalued to such an extent that no definition could capture the basic concept.
It is the government’s role to protect the social order so that we can develop and prosper in a healthy environment. Protecting the social order means to recognize the accepted definition of marriage. It means to protect elementary principles which allow a community of people to thrive from one generation to the next. Certainly, the rights of every homosexual should be guarded. However, no citizen has the right to redefine basic concepts to suit himself/herself. Just as we do not redefine adultery to appease unfaithful spouses, so, we should not redefine marriage to pacify the gay community.