Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mark's thoughts: "Homosexual marriage": How we got here and what it means

"Homosexual marriage": How we got here and what it means

Marriage exists in order to create, raise and nurture children.  This point should be obvious to Christians.  Immediately after creating humanity as male and female (Gen 1:26) the very next words of God are, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (1:27).  The institution of marriage in Genesis 2 established that the sexual union of man and woman is central and constitutive of marriage itself:  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  And as Gen 1:27 has just established, this sexual union is for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying. The married couple that experiences the sorrow of infertility is the exception that demonstrates the truth of Genesis’ statements. 

However, you don’t have to be a Christian who has Scripture in order to understand this.  Because Genesis 1-2 describe how God has ordered his creation, people of all times and places have recognized that marriage is about producing children so that a society can continue.  They have understood that it takes a man and a woman to produce a child and that the setting of a husband and wife is then the location where that child is best nurtured and raised to be a new and productive member of society.  This basic understanding has been the case no matter whether monogamy or polygamy has been considered an acceptable form of marriage.

Because of the central and essential role that marriage plays in the production of children and the continuation of a healthy society, every culture has developed rules that define, protect and regulate marriage.  For this very reason where cultures have developed formal government structures, the government has taken on the role of administrating marriage (legally recognizing couples as being joined together in an exclusive union through a marriage license).  Government doesn’t involve itself in marriage because it created marriage.  Instead it recognizes that marriage is an institution that is a fundamental part of human existence and that it is essential to the health of society.

Marriage, sex and children have provided the foundation of human society since God created Adam and Eve. However, since the end of the twentieth century we have lived in the first time in human history when people have had the technology to separate sex and children.  Contraception – the revolution of “the pill” – has allowed people for the first time to use sex as an end itself.  They have been able to use sex solely for the purpose of physical and emotional pleasure and enjoyment.

When sex became disengaged from having children, it inevitably became disengaged from marriage as well, since marriage existed for the purpose of creating and raising children.  Once marriage was disengaged from the creation and raising of children, it took on a new purpose: adult personal fulfillment.  The inevitable result of this was the “no fault divorce.”  With children removed from the center of marriage’s purpose, now if adults were not experiencing the personal fulfillment in marriage they desired they simply ended marriage in divorce and sought a new marriage.  It did not matter that study after study have shown that divorce is a positive for adults but detrimental to children, because marriage was no longer about children.

The course of this development since the 1960’s set the stage for today’s effort to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples.  Since marriage is not about producing and raising children and is about adult personal fulfillment, there is no reason that “marriage” can’t include couples who are of the same sex. Yet along the way, something interesting happened.  Homosexual couples began to decide that children were a part of the equation that provided personal fulfillment.  By definition their union could not produce children.  But just as they had a right to marriage for the sake of personal fulfillment, so also they had a right to children for the same reason (see the fascinating response to this position by homosexuals in France:

We live in a society today where the institution of marriage is in grave trouble.  Cohabitation and children being raised in single parent homes continues to rise. And while society wants to convince itself that there can be “many forms of family,” one cannot undo God’s ordering of creation.  Again and again, research shows that the intact family that includes a father and mother produces the best health for society as a whole ( 

“Homosexual marriage” is the final development of this process.  It may not be the last “definition” of marriage that we see – “polyamorous marriage” is another logical development of marriage based on emotional ties and adult personal fulfillment.  However it is the moment when marriage becomes meaningless.  When marriage is possible between two people who by their very nature are incapable of creating children, marriage as it has existed for the entire length of human history becomes pointless.  Over time this reality will make itself felt as marriage ceases to be a priority for more and more people.  It is the final step that demonstrates marriage is about nothing other than adult personal fulfillment.  And if an emotional bond between two adults is all that is needed for personal fulfillment, why does a person want to involve the government in this at all?  Why take on the legal ramifications?  This is where we are headed.  Unfortunately for our society, this does not change God’s ordering of creation and it guarantees pain, sorrow and dysfunction.

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