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Gay Marriage

I realize that much has been said on this topic over the last several years. My purpose in writing this particular post is to answer two questions: 1) Why do homosexual people wish to be allowed to marry? and  2) Why do heterosexual people wish to prevent them from doing so?  I am not an expert.  I have not studied this topic in any formal setting.  I do not have a degree in theology, morals, or any related subject.  I speak merely from my own personal experiences as a dedicated Christian and also my acquaintances and friends.  In commenting on this post, I ask only that you speak politely and intelligently.  Please do not make any remarks that are insulting, offensive, or overly critical.  I tolerate debate and discussion on the matter--I allow people to take any position they wish to on the matter--but I will not tolerate bigotry or logical fallacy insofar as it may hurt an individual or group of people.

To the matter at hand, why do homosexual people wish to be allowed to marry?  My first answer to that question is to flip the coin and ask "Why do heterosexual people wish to be allowed to marry?"  I believe that marriage is healthy and has many positive benefits.  I'll discuss two main ones.  First, heterosexual couples often wish to procreate, and it is widely accepted among many religions and societies that doing so is best accomplished inside a marriage.  Procreation not only has the macroscopic benefit of allowing the human race to perpetuate, but on a microscopic level also brings much joy and happiness into the lives of a couple by allowing them to raise a child.  The chemical and psychological benefits on the part of both the parents and the child in a healthy parent-child relationship have been studied greatly, and are wonderful reasons to support this.

Second, heterosexual people feel attractions to certain other people (of the opposite sex), and have an innate desire to develop a deep relationship with such a person.  This quite often leads to the desire to share one's entire life with another person, in a dedicated and loving relationship.  Marriage vows often indicate that such a relationship will not always be easy, and that it is important to hold on through tough times, helping each other through the difficulties of life.  There is a deep bond of love drawing two people together, so deep that they are willing to sacrifice virtually anything for their partner.  The need to be loved and accepted is one of the fundamental needs of humans.  Therefore, in order to indicate that this relationship is dedicated and that both parties wish it to last a lifetime, marriage contracts are made and the couple is pronounced legally and lawfully wedded.  The newly married couple and all of their friends and family typically participate in the ceremony and well-wishing.

Now that we have a yardstick to contrast with, let us return to the question "Why do homosexuals wish to be allowed to marry?"  One reason that is often used to oppose gay marriage is the fact that homosexual couples are incapable of reproduction.  That children cannot be created without one member of each sex, I will not deny.  However, if lack of reproductive capability is used as a reason to deny marriage, then we must then deny marriage to heterosexual couples that are infertile.  I do not believe that this is a good route to take, especially since my deceased wife was infertile and therefore I would have been unable to marry her.  But, as I have digressed, let me return to the question I set out to answer.  Many gay couples do wish to have children.  Clearly, they cannot do so without some third party, but that does not mean that they are unfit to raise children, nor does it mean that they do not wish to raise children.  Surely some gay couples do not wish to have children, just as some heterosexual couples don't.    In exactly the same way that the lives of straight couples are blessed by having children, the lives of gay couples are also blessed by having children.  The same chemical and psychological benefits are present in gay couples raising children as are there with straight couples raising children.

On the next matter, homosexual people have needs just exactly the same as heterosexual people do.  They want to find a person to love and to dedicate their life to.  Of course, I cannot speak for all homosexual people.  There may be those that just wish to move from partner to partner and never be in a dedicated relationship, but the same thing can be said of heterosexual people.  There are those that do not wish to settle down and marry.  But, for the most part, I believe that people (gay and straight alike) wish to share their life with one special someone--someone to come home to, someone to make dinner for, someone to hold and to have for an entire lifetime.  Personally, I cannot think of a more important reason to marry, nor a higher motivation for it.  If homosexual people are asking for the ability to marry the person that they love and wish to share their life with, then is that not an indication that they feel the same way about their partner that a straight person feels about theirs?  Is it not an indication that they wish to make the exact same commitment--that they want to love, cherish, and honor their beloved, for better or worse, through health and sickness?  I believe that it is a very good indication of such desires.

I believe that homosexual people wish to be treated equally with heterosexual people.  They wish to be accepted by society.  They wish to feel like they can eat at the same table as their heterosexual brothers and sisters.  Let us consider the spiritual aspect of life.  Religion is very appealing to people.  They want to believe in a higher power--they want to know that death is not the end of life.  Religious teachings can be very therapeutic and helpful in dealing with grief, and other trials in life.  It is good to hope for a better world and a brighter future.  These are healthy things for the human psychology.  Aside from all of that, I personally believe that God exists and that He loves us very much.  Homosexual people have the same spiritual needs as heterosexual people.  They want to know that God loves them just as much as their heterosexual counterparts.  When they are told that God hates them because of who they are, they feel truly hurt by that.  They don't understand what they have done wrong to offend God.  They want to please Him, and do what is right in His eyes, but they are told that they are sinners and that God hates them.

What effect does this homophobia have on homosexual people?  Many people teach that saying such hateful things to homosexuals is necessary in order to get them to repent and turn to God.  I believe that such statements merely cause harm and do no good.  I do not believe that God smiles on people who repeat such terrible statements.  What effect does this homophobia really have?  It causes gay people to hate themselves, to feel that they are unworthy of God's love.  They feel separated from all other humans, because they are fundamentally wrong.  They shut down all of their emotions, and stop feeling anything at all because they wish so strongly to be rid of their homosexual feelings--something they can in reality never be rid of.  Quite often, these dear, beloved children of God--those who are our own brothers and sisters--take their own life, having given up on pleasing God.  They decide that they have failed somehow and have lost the favor of God, and hence they figure that committing suicide is the best way to relieve them of all of the pain that they have felt throughout their life.  This is the ultimate effect of homophobia.  It is not to love people into following God's commandments, it is to destroy the soul of a delicate human being.

On to the question of why heterosexual people wish to prevent homosexual people from marrying.  It has been purported that this is to prevent the happiness and joy in the life of all gay people.  Personally, I feel like the number of people who truly wish to ruin the lives of another in this way is small.  The more likely reason is that they believe that homosexuality is immoral and therefore, in order to keep society from losing all of its morals, they wish to have as many laws in place as reasonable in order to help keep the citizens from being immoral.  I do not disagree with this reasoning.  I do believe that we should let our morals dictate our political movements, and if something is immoral, we should try to fight it.  However, I do not believe that homosexual behavior is immoral (although my church does, and I respect them for that).  Also, I believe that a better criterion for dictating public policy (since not all people agree on what is moral and what is not) is not necessarily what one particular religion deems as immoral, but rather what behaviors negatively influence other people.  For example, murder (in cold blood) is considered immoral by every religion that I know of, but aside from religious beliefs, it can quite easily be argued that murdering an innocent person infringes on that person's right to life, and therefore should be illegal.  Since two people living in a committed relationship with each other, regardless of their sex, poses no visible or measurable threat to any other person's rights, I do not believe that it should be illegal.

Furthermore, if this is truly a decision of moral or immoral, then why is it about marriage?  If homosexual behavior is immoral, then it would make more sense to illegalize homosexual behavior altogether, and not just homosexual marriage.   If there are no laws against homosexual behavior (between consenting adults) then why should there be laws against such behavior being confined to a dedicated, monogamous relationship.  To me, it would seem that the moral thing to do here would be to allow same-sex marriage, not deny it.  Denying it would mean increasing the amount of irresponsible homosexual behavior, whereas legalizing it would mean increasing the amount of dedicated, monogamous sexual behavior.  Most religions that I know of teach that the latter is preferable to the former, so it would seem that religious people would choose to allow marriage to as many people as wish to enter it, not restrict the class of people who are privileged to enter such a contract.

Another reason is possibly because they feel that homosexuals will "recruit" younger people to their "lifestyle".  This argument I can refute, using the past few generations of data as evidence.  There has been a great deal of effort made to "cure" people of homosexuality, or convert them to being heterosexual.  Each effort has been largely unsuccessful.  The best results that can be reported are that some people have been able to control or suppress their homosexual feelings.  However, a vast majority of patients who underwent such "reparative therapy" have been psychologically scarred for life.  They were not cured of their homosexuality, rather they were merely damaged by the therapy that they received to that end.  Some rather horrific experiments were attempted in this avenue, including shock therapy and vomit-inducing therapy.  I ask, then, if all of these efforts have been in vain, where is the reasoning that someone would be able to convert a person the other way--from heterosexuality to homosexuality?  I propose, rather, that sexual orientation is largely immutable--that an adolescent or adult will likely not change sexual orientation at any point during his or her life.  Therefore, it does not stand to reason that homosexual people would be capable of converting others to their lifestyle.  So, I do not believe that allowing homosexual couples to marry will encourage more people to "become" gay.

So, what are the foreseeable effects of legalizing homosexual marriage?  The effects I see are as follows: 1) homosexual people feel more accepted by society, equal to their heterosexual fellow beings, 2) homosexual people are more strongly encouraged (or at least allowed) to be in dedicated monogamous relationships, which will yield happiness, 3) homosexual people will feel less need to hide their personal lives from their friends and associates--they will feel as though they can be authentic.

What possible negative effects might it have?  If Christians are correct, and homosexuality is immoral, then it will erode the moral backbone of the world.  It will allow a greater tolerance for sin.  The next step toward utter chaos will be upon us.  Personally, if I am faced with two options: one being that we continue to hate our homosexual brothers and sisters to the point where we cause them to commit suicide and the other being that we allow the possible moral decay of our society, I choose the latter.  I believe that this life is a time to learn from personal experience the difference between right and wrong.  If we are never allowed to make mistakes, then we will never learn.  If we are all forced to do what is right, then there is no growth.  Therefore, I would choose the option of allowing people to make their own choice in this matter.  If it is sin that they are committing, then they will have to take that up with their God at the day of judgement.  But, I do believe that forcing one's views on another person and making them act a certain way simply because you personally feel that is the best way for you to act (especially when such leads to the eventual suicide of another person) is a quick way to bring upon you the wrath of God.

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