I remember the day in my senior year of high school in the San Francisco Bay area when my best friend told me he was gay. I was stunned. I remained close to my friend during the rest of that school year and summer until we parted ways for separate colleges and life journeys. Today I have gay friends with whom I openly and freely discuss my faith. I do not consider myself to be homophobic. Why then do I think same-sex marriage is a really, really bad idea?
If I were counseling a married couple who were about to break their marriage vows by agreeing to an open marriage, I would tell them that adultery is a bad idea. Adultery erodes marital trust, splinters the lives of the outside partners, results often in divorce and shatters the lives of children in the families involved.
In the same way, I can say to a teenager who is considering having premarital sex that it is a bad idea. The emotional scars that sex before marriage and abortion leave cannot be measured.
In the same way, it is not discriminatory hate speech to say to gay couples that same-sex marriage is a bad idea. Here’s why: Proponents of same-sex marriage want to change the meaning of marriage. To them, marriage is any romantic relationship between people. They believe the state should regulate and recognize same-sex marriage because it has an interest in stable romantic partnerships.
The traditional marriage view defines marriage as a monogamous romantic relationship between a man and woman that is committed to fidelity and has a central core value of bearing and raising children to be good citizens.
The traditional marriage view is philosophically and historically defensible and proven to be good for society. On the other hand, the concept of same-sex marriage is not philosophically or historically defensible, nor is it good for society. It is difficult to find any society in world history that tried this social experiment and lived to leave a glimpse of itself.
The argument for same-sex marriage is that a state that denies rights to romantic unions is discriminatory and unjust. It seems that supporting gay marriage has become a litmus test for whether a person is open-minded and politically correct. Gay marriage? Check no, and you’re a homophobic, morally insane bigot. Check yes, and you’ve evolved and blossomed into a well-balanced and thoughtful genius who has enough good sense to know what’s best for an open society. A seeming rite of passage, supporting gay marriage is the Nirvana of a free, nondiscriminatory republic. Some (erroneously, I think) try to compare the gay struggle for equal marriage rights to Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement.
Same-sex marriage advocates falsely assume that making a distinction between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples is discriminatory, and the only way to solve this is to redefine marriage. But, is marriage anything we proclaim it to be or is there a reason why societies for millennia have chosen to regulate marriage law based on the traditional marriage definition? There is a reason, and it has everything to do with bearing and raising children who will become leaders in the coming generation.
If the state declares present marriage laws to be discriminatory against romantic unions of any kind, the logical outcome will be one that is neither philosophically defensible nor good for society.
Using the same-sex marriage advocates’ logic, what will the state say to those desiring to enter into polygynous romantic unions (one husband, many wives) or polyandrous romantic unions (one wife, many husbands)? To deny them marriage rights would make the state discriminatory. What about polyamorous romantic unions (group marriage)? What if a brother is romantically drawn toward his sister? By the new marriage definition (marriage is a romantic relationship between people) the state would be guilty of discrimination if it held to present laws against incestuous unions.
I believe that making a distinction between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples is neither hateful nor discriminatory. A married man and woman who have committed themselves to monogamy and fidelity in marriage until death, with the purpose of bearing and raising children who will become good citizens in the next generation, is for the common good of American society.
Aaron Fruh is the lead pastor at Knollwood Church in Mobile, Ala.