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In Defense of Marriage - Part II

July 14, 2008
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As discussed last week, the noted anthropologist, J. D. Unwin conducted what is arguably the most exhaustive examination of sexual ethics and their affect upon society. In brief, Unwin discovered that throughout history, the state of a given society was directly related to its sexual ethic. Monogamous cultures prosper and those disinclined to restrain sex to monogamous marriage remain primitive or, if once successful, they decline. Unwin also observed that legally recognized and socially reinforced marriage was the only effective means for regulating sexual behavior. Where marriage is strictly defined and reinforced, monogamy rules.

This assertion led many proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) to argue that since monogamy is—according to Unwin—central to the health and prosperity of a given society, we should offer “marriage” to same-sex couples for the purpose of promoting monogamy among gays. So it seems I must address this charge before continuing in our defense of marriage.

Attempting to promote monogamy among homosexual couples by rearranging marriage ignores the fact that homosexual acts are patently obvious distortions of the human biological design. We are born biologically male or female and as such we are sexually dissimilar but in complimentary ways. The male/female sexual union works, in other words. This is true of every species on earth. Every living organism has a particular way of reproducing and rearing offspring; its anatomy is biologically designed to support that way. If one believes we are products of an evolutionary process, then homosexual acts are a deviation from the procreative design and homosexuality is therefore a genetic defect because it fails to propagate the species. If one holds to the belief that we are created, then it defies the design and intent of the Creator. Either way homosexuality violates the given design.

Gay advocates argue that homosexuality occurs throughout the animal kingdom and therefore this somehow validates or normalizes homosexual acts. While there is evidence that some animals (usually males) will, on occasion, attempt intercourse with another of the same sex, this remains an aberration, as it still fails to achieve the procreative principles inherent in that creature’s biological design. On its surface, this is a ridiculous defense. Sexual acts beyond the biological design are a perversion of human sexuality and therefore contrary to the maintenance of sexual morality.

We are reluctant to say this today because our culture has been inundated with gay-rights propaganda that carefully avoids the sexual reality of homosexual behavior. Instead the emphasis is on the so-called emotional and romantic aspects. As a result, we feel sympathetic; we may feel like we should capitulate to their demand for marriage in the name of equal treatment. However, equal treatment of persons living the homosexual lifestyle is a completely different issue than redefining marriage. No thinking Christian opposes the equal treatment of homosexuals, because they are fully human persons made in the image of God. Furthermore, gay men and women are free to have sex, experience romantic relationships, and live in whatever arrangement they choose. (Of course, there are consequences to these choices.) What is not their choice is to redefine an institution essential to the social welfare and common good such that these benefits are nullified. The demand for SSM is not about equal dignity and treatment but rather social affirmation of a particular lifestyle.

Any given thing is what it is based on its possessing certain essential characteristics, features, or qualities. For example, water is what it is by virtue of it possessing a particular chemical structure (two atoms of hydrogen combined with one of oxygen). The possession of these essential characteristics is what defines and distinguishes water from every other liquid. You might attempt to define water by some other characteristic, i.e., fluidity. However, while fluidity is certainly a characteristic of water, it is not essential to defining water. If we were to exchange the essential feature—chemical structure—for the nonessential feature, you can imagine the problems that would result. You might receive a glass of gasoline in response to a request for water!

This is analogous to redefining marriage apart from its essential characteristics. Human procreation is essential to marriage. Procreative acts are biologically exclusive to male and female conjugation. In the event children are realized, marriage represents and reinforces society’s expectation that the mother and father will remain committed to the rearing and care of those children. This also represents the natural family structure for human beings.  Suffice it to say, marriage, strictly defined, serves a vital social interest that rests ultimately on the welfare of children and not the self interests of adults. Thus marriage cannot be redefined apart from its essential role in regulating human procreative potential.

I received a rebuttal from one SSM advocate that “the procreative argument is easily dismissed based on the fact that many heterosexual married couples are unable to procreate due to infertility or other physical or medical issues. They have a sexual relationship … but they have to rely on other mechanisms i.e., in vitro fertilization, surrogates, to have children. Homosexual couples are likewise biologically disadvantaged and rely on the same above mentioned methods to have children and build their families.”

Homosexual couples are not biologically disadvantaged—they are biologically incapable. No matter how homosexual couples may acquire children, they still rely on a process that is heterosexual (male sperm and female egg) and beyond their own biology. Regardless, even if children are not realized in marriage or a married couple chooses not to have children, they nonetheless participate in the same procreative acts essential to defining human sexuality; these acts are essential to what is marriage and vice versa.

SSM advocates want to redefine marriage apart from these essential characteristics by appealing to the nonessential characteristic of erotic love, arguing that because they love one another they should be allowed to participate in marriage. However, as our analogy of water demonstrates, defining water apart from its essential characteristics renders the definition of water meaningless. One could then argue that because he loves his dog, he should be able to marry his dog, etc. The possibilities become ridiculous and marriage becomes meaningless.   

Unwin’s research and human history confirms that acceptance of sexual perversion always follows the modification of heterosexual monogamy within marriage. In other words, once a society begins to extend sexual opportunities beyond the exclusive relationship of marriage between a man and woman, the society’s sexual ethic begins to descend. Sexual profligacy ensues, perversions increase, marriage and the natural family erode, and birth rates decline until the society is unable to sustain itself—all in the name of serving our own selfish desires.

© 2008 by S. Michael Craven

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Response from : Minnell Bond  

July 14, 2008 9:17 AM

Your article was right on target. The key word is procreation. So called SSM does not have the ability, nor ever will. I could not have said it better myself. Keep up the good work!

Response from : Greg Williams  

July 14, 2008 9:17 AM

Mr. Craven

Thanks again for another great series, and one of particular interest to me as I direct Heritage of Kentucky - a character based abstinence until marriage program (govt. funded) and a part-time ministry, IP315 Ministries that deals with these issues. I've served on several boards and task force in our state and even a couple nationally and have used much of the same excellent arguments and foundations in your series in support of heterosexual marriage as a foundation to society and culture and its demise at the hands of the deterioration of heterosexual marriage and the moral standard of procreative and recreative sex only within marriage.

In light of this, you may find it interesting and already know it, that the longest term study on the impact of homosexual 'marriage' was done a few years back after 10 years of the failed "social experiment" that is same-sex marriage. It came from the only place that has had it in place legally for that long, the Netherlands. What they found was right in line with the early writings, speakers and conferences of the "gay-rights" and ultimately "SSM" movement in that it is truly not marriage that they desire, rather it is a complete moral change that will accept their prominently promiscuous lifestyle as "normal" and acceptable (while there are rare exceptions of long term commitment sexually in the deviant lifestyle of homomsexuality, much more among lesbians than gay men, it is ultimately "recruitment" as the only way their movement can survive as you've eloquently alluded to in your defense of homosexuality and SSM as deviant whether in terms of the flawed theory of evolution or the Biblical 'theory' of Creation).

The study was over a 10 year period and in that time frame they could only find 156 couples that had stayed together more than one year and of those only 8 had stayed together more than 5 years. They found that of all these couples that the average number of sexual partners that each of them had annually was 8 (that's 18 people on average in each of these couples "committed lifestyles" as they called it, that were acting out in very unhealthy sexual behavior as research has proven - think of that Law of the Harvest impact on our culture as you've already implied in your article).

Marriage changed nothing except they claimed they were married and "remained so" because they stayed "emotionally attached" to their partner of 'marriage' despite the numerous other sexual partnerships.

In reference to the earlier writings, goals and conferences, those involved in this deviant, perverted lifestyle choice made it very clear that their overall lifestyle was the ultimate goal and unless they devalued and deconstructed marriage, and sexuality within it, they could not hope to accomplish that! We now are seeing the results of a dying and lifeless church in Western culture as you've written about before!

I also really like your validating their value as human beings as the Church needs to truly address this issue of sin out of True Love (something I don't think the modern-day, post Christendom Church understands at all) - truly commit to the Truth and what is best for every individual according to that Truth which includes encouraging them in their life and the inherent value given them by their Creator and clearly challenging them in their sin (regardless of what that sin may be).

Thanks again and God bless in Christ!

In His service

Greg Williams

Response from : Robert Busch  

July 14, 2008 12:38 PM

It's refreshing to see someone who opposes gay marriage express his opposition politely. I will try to respond with similar politeness with some criticisms of the logic in your article.
You mention the argument made by gay rights supporters that homosexual relations occur between animals in nature, and you act as if it were one of the main arguments in support of gay marriage rights. However, I have only ever seen that argument used to respond to claims that homosexuality is "unnatural". The argument is not intended to support gay marriage rights; it is only intended to counter the claim that homosexual behavior is "unnatural" by pointing out that it does occur in nature.
You claim that lifelong loving monogamous sexual relationships should not be recognized as marriages if they are homosexual because homosexual people cannot reproduce together. You fail to address how this is different from heterosexual couples who are infertile. All you do is suggest that heterosexual infertile couples can permissibly avail themselves of surrogacy while homosexual couples cannot. This distinction is not based in either Scripture or Christian tradition.
Like many conservative Christians, you base your arguments against homosexuality on the idea that God made all people to reproduce, and that homosexuality is therefore a flaw in God's plan. However, this belief doesn't make sense. There are now more people in the world than there are resources to support. It's easy to ignore this in the US because of our material wealth. I doubt that God wants for us to multiply to the point of mass starvation. Perhaps it is in God's plan for a certain percentage of people to be homosexual so that human beings do not multiply beyond our ability to feed and clothe ourselves. Having homosexuals in society eases the load of caring for children by increasing the ratio of adults to children.
Please consider the challenges I have brought to the claims you have made in this article.

Response from : Amanda Robinson  

July 17, 2008 9:51 AM

I think it is absurd to think that procreation is the only reason for marriage. I happen to be a lesbian woman that is not in a relationship. I go to church and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This has in no way changed that fact that I am a lesbian. God made me who I am. I believe that gay marriage becoming legal is important, not only because I am a Christian but also because other people should be given the same right to be a Christian. “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”… Are you without sin? I am wondering what gives you the right to judge. Jesus said “What you have done to the least of these you have done to me”. I do not want the right to get married because I want to take anything away from you, I want that right so that I can be a witness fro Christ. God wants us to come to him as we are. How can I get my friends to come to church when it is preached that you can not have sex before marriage (not that most straight Christian people follow this one) but that they can just never have sex ever because gay marriage it not legal.

Response from : kaiala  

July 22, 2008 3:14 PM

I would like to commened Micheal Craven for this very informative and well documented view on marriage. Coming from a single mother point of view, I understand that although our Lord father's the fatherless, there is still the basic foundation and neccessity for both a mother and father in the home raising a child.

Thank you again for such a wonderful read.


Response from : Holly Williams  

July 26, 2008 10:00 AM

This is the first article I have read where the author presents his views with respect and fact, not filled with emotion and insults. The response above from Mr. Robert Busch also expresses his views without being insulting or overly emotional. Thank you both for allowing us to see both viewpoints in such a way to make us think.

Response from : Sheila  

August 1, 2008 12:03 PM

"Regardless, even if children are not realized in marriage or a married couple chooses not to have children, they nonetheless participate in the same procreative acts essential to defining human sexuality; these acts are essential to what is marriage and vice versa. "
Actually, with the use of contraception, I would propose the heterosexual married couple does NOT "participate in the same procreative acts essential to defining human sexuality", but alters the character of that act so that it is no longer fulfills its design. I would go further to say that it is our widespread acceptance, as a culture, of contraception and sterilization, that has opened the door to redefining marriage to include homosexual couplings. We redefined the marital act, when we altered its very nature with contraception, negating its procreative purpose, leaving only its bonding purpose, and harming that in that in the process. If we can choose to sterilize the marital act, are we not so altering its character that it resembles, in purpose, a homosexual act, seeking pleasure and bonding in an act we have rendered incapable of procreation? Less than a hunded years ago, all Christian religions recognized that contracepted sexual unions were a perversion of sex. Could the widespread and rapid abandonment of such a longheld principle have opened the door to accepting other perversions of sexuality as normal as well?


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