Is “The Right to Marry” the Real Question?

March 1, 2013

Thesis promoted by the President of the United States: Same-sex couples should enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples, and therefore, should be given the constitutional right to marry.

What follows sounds like boiler-plate language shared with Presbyterians who have engaged in this debate for several years. The president himself said, in his 2nd Inaugural Address of all occasions, that everyone should have the right to marry the person they love. This argument, if it can be called that, is as wrong for the American people as it is for Presbyterians who believe the Scripture is the only rule of faith and practice.

This argument is insufficient and inaccurate on its face, as there are legal limitations of marriage, most especially of age (age of consent laws) and number of spouses (only one). However, it the president’s argument gets traction in today’s open-minded world, the door opens to marriage of children and polyamory (a more general term than bigamy, which refers specifically to a man with more than one wife).

“The right to marry” is given to all citizens. Though it is not explicitly stated as such in the U. S. Constitution, it is a derivative of the basic right Americans have to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every citizen has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. This right reflects the societal norm that has been in place for millennia. It was the operating assumption of American founders. Since the writing of the Constitution, applications have been rendered regarding marriage between people of different races or social classes and of “marriageable age” and parental consent.

The president in his press conference today stated that those in favor of California’s Proposition 8, now before the U. S. Supreme Court, deny marriage to same-sex couples simply because they are same-sex couples. The president is right in his observation, but it is a formidable truth he dismisses rather easily. It is a matter of definition that goes back to the very nature of persons as male and female; to the very sexual functioning for which we were, in part, created; to the necessary conditions for the conception and birthing of children; and, therefore, for the perpetuation of the human race. Heterosexual marriage supports all these natural requirements; homosexual unions by definition cannot. Yes, the president is correct in his observation.

The president is also wrong in his inference. In a culturally relativistic environment, which he is now illustrating perfectly, who is to say that same-sex marriage is inadmissible? By the same token, who is to say that it is admissible? Is it only up to what an individual person wants? To what an individual person defines? To what a specific couple justifies to the world? To personal conscience, even though it be warped and misinformed? The president is getting very dogmatic on the point that there is to be no dogmatism regarding marriage. He faces the ultimate conundrum of the cultural relativist. “Anything goes” until you violate my particular justice issue, and then it is important enough that I must impose my view upon you as a new dogmatic order.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims understand that God created human beings “in order.” That means God—above and beyond the cultural whims of various generations and beyond the pursuits of individual life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—drew some boundaries around acceptable behavior by designing human beings to complement each other sexually. As onerous as this sounds to the cultural relativist, the authority for Proposition 8 comes from divine design and instruction. I have made those scriptural cases on this blog many times.

What is being proposed is not the remedial granting of a previously denied but constitutionally guaranteed right, it is the extension of a new right to a particular class of people (the president’s term), and therefore an entirely new thing. It is not “the right to marry” that is granted to people who previously had that right. It is “the redefinition of marriage” to satisfy a specific class of people. When the definition of marriage revolves around “living in sexual intimacy with whomever you choose,” the very nature of marriage itself will be taken out of societal definition for the good of the human race and into the realm of mere personal preference. And we all know, from reading the newspaper, those preferences without boundaries will take us to places we do not want to go.



4 Responses to “Is “The Right to Marry” the Real Question?”

  1. John Minihan Says:

    Right on, Rev. Mary!

    Rev. John in WV

  2. Art Seaman Says:

    Well things change. There is nothing in this post that convinces me that same sex marriage will harm my marriage. I do note that I was 57 and my wife 50 when we married and we will not procreate. Society is changing—as it always will. When inter-racial marriage was legalized, it did not doom society. And in some nations in the Middle East a man can have 2 or more wives and he can come to this country and have the multiple marriages recognized. And just in the past several day more than 100 Republican leaders voiced support of same gender marriage.
    Things change.

  3. Rev. Seaman claims that 100 Republican’s support same gender marriage. I could probably find 100 Democrats who do not.

    For this President to champion a redefinition of something that even libertine ancient Rome looked upon as beyond the pale goes against all human history.

    To equate same sex marriage to interracial marriage or polygamy is ludicrous. The first is a normal marriage of male & female, and the second, while illegal in the US, is still a marriage of opposite sexes.

    Scripture, both Old & New Testament, affirms that God’s plan for marriage is male & female. In it the Church is told to “be in the world, but not of it”. However, the PC(USA) has taken “Social Justice” to the point where it trumps Scripture.

    It appears that many remaining PC(USA) pastors have started bending the knee to CULTURE, and have forgotten Him about whom we are told “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess”. Any pastor who says they preach Christ, but who in reality preaches culture, is not serving Him.

  4. Jodie Says:

    American Christians have always bent their knee to the American culture. Even today, as the American culture divides and fights along the Liberal vs. Conservative divide, so do its Christians. The marriage debate is just one more example.

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