Why the Same-Sex Marriage Issue May Never Be Resolved
An essay by James A Graves, Jr.
The homosexual marriage issue has made major headlines in the news. Some states move to ban, others move to legalize. The religious community for the most part joins conservatives against issue, while human rights activists join the liberals for the issue. The national movement established to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman accentuated the dividing line between the two fronts.
The homosexual issue has been dragged through the courts many times over the years. The right to privacy guaranteed in the US Constitution has served to override attempts to prosecute homosexuals for performing sodomy (a crime in all 50 states until 1961 and 13 states in 2003) in the privacy of their own home. Organizations, such as the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, have been formed to act on behalf of gay rights. The US Congress has passed laws and courts of law have ruled in favor of homosexuals’ right to be protected from discrimination.
However, homosexuality has again been brought to the legal and the public forefront due to the same-sex marriage issue and has effectively driven a wedge between the two fronts. There will probably never be an agreement on this issue because of the vast differences in the views of the two sides, and here are some of the reasons why...
The side against homosexuality and same-sex marriage base their opposition on moral grounds. Homosexuality is not normal, they say, and on the practical side, since reproduction cannot come from such a marriage, it is unnatural. Some, especially the religious front, say homosexuality is a choice. Most agree that homosexuality is a crime against nature and certainly a sin in the eyes of God. The Bible is undeniably plain on that point.
One of many examples can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
The side for homosexuality and same-sex marriage base their argument on basic human rights. They consider homosexuality to be normal and believe that a person should have the freedom to live their life as they choose. There is much less social stigma directed at homosexuals today, primarily due to the “coming out of the closet” movement among homosexuals, including civic leaders, famous entertainers, members of congress and other politicians.
Many heterosexuals believe, especially for religious reasons, that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and, consequently, can be suppressed, controlled or ignored. They site examples of sexual abuse, bad parenting or a dysfunctional child-parent relationship as the root causes of the decision to choose homosexuality.
But what about homosexuals who had no bad youth experiences and did not choose homosexuality as a lifestyle?
Human sex drive is by far the most powerful human emotion and cannot be ignored. Every homosexual doesn’t just wake up one day and decide that they are attracted to the same sex. To prove this, think back to your adolescence. Recall your feelings toward the first person for which you had a serious crush, which, if you’re heterosexual, was most likely a person of the opposite sex. If you are like most people, you put very little thought into choosing the object of your affection. You simply found someone’s looks to be pleasing to you and suddenly realized that you felt love for them. The emotion probably hit you “out of the blue” without you knowing what love really is or why you felt that particular emotion for this particular person.
That is the essence of sexual attraction. You cannot predict or control sexual attraction, in fact, it controls you. As you grow older, the emotion becomes even stronger, to the point of perhaps causing you to fall in love a number of times and occasionally make a complete fool of yourself in the process. As the saying goes, “such is love”.
Compare those feelings to your feelings toward your best friend during your adolescence, which was most likely a person of the same sex as you. The love for a best friend can also be deep and powerful, but if sexual attraction is not part of the emotions the desire to be intimate never occurs to you. In fact, the thought of being intimate with your best friend would most likely seem distasteful.
Now consider that a homosexual has the same emotions and feelings as you, except that they are sexually attracted to others of the same sex. A homosexual can no more deny their sex drive than a heterosexual can. And very few people can ignore or control their sex drive because sex drive is the most powerful force in nature. If you don’t believe that, I strongly suggest staying away from large male animals, like elk, when they are in rut.
While it is undeniable that homosexuality is defined as a type of deviant behavior, this doesn’t explain homosexuals who came from a normal family environment and did not make a conscious choice to become a homosexual. People with deviant behavior caused by past traumatic events can seek help and possibly find a cure for their problems. Those who chose homosexuality over heterosexuality can also seek counseling if desired, but this does not address those who have known no other way of life.
Finding no other logical reason on which to blame homosexuality, Christians have essentially dismissed homosexuals with no apparent, treatable abnormalities as hopelessly lost and bound for Hell.
Many people cannot accept that homosexuality is not a disease/disorder that can be cured. But there is not much basis for their reluctance. For example, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1973.
There are often chemical and hormonal imbalances involved. Lack of testosterone in males can produce feminine characteristics. Excessive amounts of testosterone in females can produce male characteristics. But, homosexuality is far more complicated than that, because very masculine males and very feminine females are homosexuals.
There may be a genetic link according to a report in Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia; “In recent years a number of neuroscientists and psychologists have suggested that biological factors may also play an important role, as there seem to be differences in the brain structures of homosexual and heterosexual men and some studies of twins support the possible existence of a genetic component to homosexuality.”
However, it is also apparent from the report that many more years of research are necessary to determine if there is a specific genetic link.
Christians are unwilling to accept homosexuals and certainly not same-sex marriage because of what the Bible teaches. There are a number of references to homosexuality as a sin in the Bible and one of the primary reasons is very obvious; God’s command to mankind was to, “Go forth and multiply.”
I quoted from Corinthians earlier, highlighting the reference to homosexuality as being a sin. But that verse refers equally to other sins as well.
Here’s the full list, defined…
Fornication: Sexual intercourse out of marriage.
If every Christian guilty of this sin is excluded from Heaven, it won’t be very crowded there.
Idolatry: The pagan tradition of image worship.
Could this possibly include praying to statues like the Virgin Mary and other saints? If so, the Catholics are in serious trouble.
Adultery: Sexual intercourse with another person who is not his or her spouse.
I suspect this sin could exclude quite a few Christians from Heaven as well.
Effeminate: Imitating a woman or girl.
Obviously, God doesn’t like drag queens. I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover was a Christian?
Thieves: People who steal.
I wonder if the Reverend Jim Baker will make it to Heaven?
Covetous: Wanting somebody else’s property.
This one will no doubt go far in thinning out the ranks of Heaven.
Drunkards: People who drink to excess.
Is anyone who has ever been drunk bound for Hell?
Revilers: People who use insulting or abusive language, or make a fierce or abusive verbal attack on someone.
I guess we know in which direction most New Yorkers are bound.
Swindlers: People who obtain something from somebody by deception or fraud.
Oops, Rev. Jim has another strike against him.
It obviously doesn’t take much Bible study to understand that God dislikes all of man’s behavioral disorders and deviances. It is also apparent that the intent of the Bible is to provide laws and guidance by which mankind should live. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ provides the view that man is not perfect and everyone has sinned. Acceptance that Jesus died for our sins is man’s salvation. Christ stated rather emphatically in John 3:16 that anyone who believes in Him would join Him in Heaven. That includes people who are guilty of the sins listed in First Corinthians 6:9-10, as well as all other sins, without exception. Jesus simply asks us to follow His example as best we can, knowing that we are not perfect, and He provides a path for our salvation despite our sins through His grace and forgiveness. That path is between each person and The Lord, there are no others involved.
Perhaps the greatest sin of all is Christians’ failure to remember that.
It’s just too easy for Christians, or anyone else for that matter, to condemn anyone whom they consider to have committed a sin, including homosexuals. It is simply not their place to be the judge. Laws have been passed to help keep order in our society. These laws were taken directly from the Bible or similar sources of wisdom that established rules for proper human behavior. Most societies have come to the realization that it is not realistic to prosecute every infraction of God’s laws. Otherwise, prisons would be full of the covetous, fornicators, drunkards, revilers, homosexuals, idolaters, etc.
Some Christians say that homosexuality is the work of the Devil, but it is very unlikely that Lucifer, the most notorious fallen angel, would benefit in his efforts to undermine Heaven by leading overpopulated rats and other such creatures into sin. Certainly Lucifer encourages mankind’s every departure from Godly ways. This is demonstrated in one of the well-known Bible stories from Deuteronomy.
Sodom and Gomorrah, and three other cities, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar, formed the Cities of the Plain. All five had fallen into such wickedness that Abraham could not find ten righteous men within their walls. God destroyed all of the cities except Zoar (see Deuteronomy 29:23). But when considering the possible reasons that God decided to destroy the wicked inhabitants of these cities, it is necessary to consider all of their sins and not just their sexual deviances.
It is unfortunate, especially for the Cities of the Plain, that many generations would pass before God handed down the Ten Commandments. I have no doubt that the wicked residents of the Cities of the Plain had broken all of the commandments, but repeatedly breaking only the first four was enough to bring down God’s wrath on Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim. Would knowing the Commandment’s have saved those cities?
One can suppose that the inhabitants of Zoar were model citizens after that and we might tend to think that God’s destruction of those unrighteous people would be a lesson that no one would ever forget. But man continued to be unrighteous. Finally, in Exodus 20: 1-19, God dictated the Ten Commandments to Moses. There was no mention of homosexuality as being a sin, but in the first four commandments, God lays down the law about how He should be honored and is kind enough to explain that, “…for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”
The destruction of Zoar’s neighbors had much more to do with disrespect for God than it had to do with sexual deviancy, but when the story is told we immediately pick up on the sex issue because that’s more interesting than the breaking of the first four commandments.
(This provides some insight into offerings from the news media, but that’s another story.)
Unfortunately, unrighteousness continues to be man’s greatest bane and despite the fact that there are far worse sins than homosexuality, the point is nevertheless made in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and cannot be ignored.
Homosexuals are unwilling to accept that homosexuality is not normal. One cannot say that homosexuality is not natural by strict definition, since homosexuality exists in nature and is not manmade. Yes, believe it or not, there is homosexuality in the animal kingdom, too. For example, research has shown that when confined rats are allowed to overpopulate, their social structure collapses, they begin to prey on each other and homosexuality as well as other uncharacteristic behavior is displayed. There are other examples as well. So it follows that homosexuality occurs in nature.
But while homosexuality may be natural, that does not mean homosexuality is normal behavior in nature. Consider the lab rats. The natural order of life is based on the propagation of a species by means of sexual reproduction. Homosexuality is a method of natural selection to control overpopulation or to eliminate an abnormal strain of DNA and guarantee the continued survival of the stronger species via a stronger strain of DNA. In other words, homosexuality is one of nature’s many ways of thinning out the gene pool; the survival of the fittest.
There is a great uproar about same-sex couples adopting children. Adoption becomes a totally social issue since genetics is not involved. The genetic line will end with the death of the adoptive parents and, again, nature will have won. But there is the social issue question that comes into play with respect to the effect on a child being raised by a homosexual couple. There is not much research available at this point about the upbringing of children in a family that doesn’t have a male father and a female mother. There is much research available that shows the problems caused when children are raised in a single parent household. While I can find no data on studies of the subject of children raised in same-sex households, I can find only positive comments from individuals who were raised by two “mothers” or two “fathers” under the same roof. Also, most of these individuals are heterosexual.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, if homosexuals choose Christianity, or any other religion that defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman, then as followers of that religion they cannot, in good conscience, expect to be married in the eyes of God. If they choose to turn away from religion and live a secular life, then “marriage” is essentially a meaningless word. In that case, a civil union would serve the same purpose.
In either case, civil union is the only possible solution to the problems surrounding the spousal rights of same-sex marriage, i.e., insurance, etc., that will provide the necessary legal protections under the law. However, much more legislative work remains to be done before civil unions will provide those protections.
On the other hand… according to data from a 1996 Los Angeles Times article, married couples occupied only 71% of American households in 1970 and if current trends continue, no one will be married by 2077. So, in a hundred years the whole concept of marriage in America may be a moot subject.
But until then, same-sex marriage will continue to be a hotly contested issue. And it will remain unresolved until, homosexuals come to the realization that same-sex marriage will likely never be accepted as “normal”, especially from the Christian viewpoint, and Christians remember that Christ loves everyone equally and expects His followers to do the same.
As Jesus said to the Rabbis who were about to execute a woman for committing adultery, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
©2005 James A Graves, Jr.