Why Banning Homosexual Marriage isn’t Discriminatory or Illegal
This has been an eventful week regarding the national conversation surrounding homosexual marriage. On Tuesday, May 8, North Carolina voted overwhelmingly to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as a union that exists solely between a man and a woman. The 61%-39% vote in favor of what has been called “traditional marriage,” makes North Carolina the 30th state that has voted against homosexual marriage.
The very next day, to the surprise of exactly no one, President Obama stated (finally) that he believes that, “At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” As I have said, it was no surprise.
Both of these incidents of course increased the amount of participation in the chattersphere of blogging sites, Facebook, Twitter, talk radio and television punditry. Yet in all the back and forth, there were several issues that seemed to me to have been overlooked, be it on purpose or inadvertently or they simply haven’t been discussed with the proper detail so I will attempt to address what I think is important and needs to be addressed.
Before I begin I’m going to acknowledge and confront the painfully obvious -and that is the topic of homosexual marriage is an emotional one. It’s emotional for those who happen to be homosexual and who desire to be married. It’s emotional for those who have friends and loved ones who are gay and want their loved ones to be “accepted” and part of that acceptance is having the opportunity to be married. It’s also emotional for those who, though they may have friends and loved ones who are gay, still hold to the understanding that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Further still, it’s emotional for those who struggle to remain faithful to their religious worldview which impacts their understanding of marriage.
In recognition of the emotional nature involving homosexual marriage, I will attempt to discuss this issue with the sincerity that excludes trivialization. Though many may disagree with what I will say below, keep in mind that what I say isn’t infused with ill will and in this case, isn’t said for purposes of provocation.
With that said, I am not in favor of redefining marriage to include homosexual partnerships and I applaud all states in which the people have voted against this redefinition. Hopefully you will be able to understand why during the course of my discussing the issues that are ignored.
The one thing that seems to return time and again when discussing homosexual marriage is the notion of ‘rights.’ Advocates of homosexual marriage argue the concept of marriage being a basic ‘right’ that is being denied to homosexuals and as such, is illegal. Therefore in the interest of fairness, marriage (by law) should be extended to homosexuals in the same way that it is extended to heterosexuals.
On first blush, this sounds convincing. To deny a basic right to one group of people while extending it to another group of people is wrong and discriminatory. And if that is what the law does, it should be rescinded.
But that isn’t what the law does. To begin with, marriage isn’t a ‘right.’ It’s a civil institution that all societies in history have used and have recognized as the best way to legitimize, protect and raise children as well as to solidify familial and political connections.
Second, the law doesn’t deny a basic ‘right’ to a particular group unfairly. When the law defines and recognizes marriage as a union between one man and one woman, it doesn’t exclude any homosexual person from marrying. The law treats me as a heterosexual person the exact same way it treats a homosexual person in regards to marriage: we both are prohibited from marrying a person of the same sex. Which means, under the law a homosexual person would have to marry a person the same way everyone else in society has to marry – they would have to marry someone of the opposite sex. As it relates to all unmarried persons in America, the law is extended equally and doesn’t discriminate based upon sexual preference.
Incidentally, that is exactly why ‘gay marriage’ is a misnomer. Gays, under the law are allowed to marry. As we’ve seen, they just have to marry someone of the opposite sex. The more appropriate term is ‘homosexual marriage’ because as the law exists- equally, homosexuals cannot marry other homosexuals.
Furthermore, there is no ‘right’ to marry found in the US Constitution. Every single time a person or even a court claims the denial of the ‘right’ to marry is ‘unconstitutional,’ they’re not being truthful. The Constitution says exactly nothing about homosexual marriage. Thus when this claim is offered as a defense of homosexual marriage, especially by a court as was the case in California in 2008, it is legally unfounded and is therefore a created ‘right.’
Consequently, when homosexuals and homosexual advocates assert the desire to marry someone of the same sex is a denial of rights that exists for everyone else, it simply isn’t true. What they’re actually claiming is a new so-called ‘right’ that doesn’t exist anywhere for anyone regardless of orientation- the right to marry someone of the same sex. The ‘right’ for a person to marry someone of the same sex has been denied to everyone.
Another claim that is continually offered up is that people should be allowed to marry who they love, especially if they’re consenting adults. But unfortunately, this also isn’t credibly defensible and here’s why. First, technically, homosexuals can get married to other homosexuals. These ceremonies happen all the time as there are numerous religious clergy members who have been more than willing to perform these ceremonies. So consent away. The only thing that the newly married won’t receive is governmental and societal sanction and recognition of being ‘married.’
Secondly for argument’s sake, let’s say that it is discriminatory to preclude homosexuals from marrying one another. If they’re in love and consenting, they shouldn’t be prevented from marrying. But at what point is it ok to arbitrarily move the discriminatory lines of demarcation and how is it justified? If it’s okay for homosexuals to marry other homosexuals because of love and consent, why don’t we allow/legalize polygamy when the parties involved are in love and consenting? Why not brothers who want to marry sisters when the same requirements are present? Why not aunts and nephews or uncles and nieces? Again, this is not trivializing the situation, but if it’s discrimination against homosexuals why would it not be discrimination against these other parties? And if it is discrimination, how is it justified in light of the qualifications that are used in favor of homosexual marriage? If we’re to be intellectually honest, legalizing homosexual marriage means legalizing a number of other relationships based on the same criteria used for homosexual marriage.
In the end, the law doesn’t take into consideration love when defining marriage- and rightly so. If it did, all the relationships above would have to be legalized, normalized and accepted as equal.
Yet even another claim homosexual marriage advocates use for legalizing homosexual marriage is to claim it’s a ‘civil rights issue,’ equivocating it with the struggle to legalize interracial marriages and ending segregation of the past. Again, the attempts to correlate race with sexual preferences doesn’t hold up when properly scrutinized.
Legalizing homosexual marriage isn’t the same as legalizing interracial marriages. As we’ve seen, to legalize homosexual marriage is to redefine marriage. But even more than that, legalizing interracial marriages actually fulfilled the legal understanding of marriage being between a male and a female. Why? Because when it comes right down to it, there’s no difference between a white man and a black man or a white woman and a black woman. That was the essence of the civil rights movement. But there are enormous differences between a man and a woman which is why there are separate bathrooms for men and women. It’s why there’s an NBA and a WNBA, why there are no women in the NFL, why there’s a PGA and an LPGA . It is also why in all aforementioned sporting leagues, though they are rightly separated by gender, races and nationalities of all kind are represented. Race doesn’t matter, gender does.
Furthermore to equate the struggle of homosexuals to redefine marriage for their purposes specifically, with that of the struggles that black Americans went through to gain civil rights actually undermines their argument because it trivializes the suffering and misfortune blacks went through to gain the level of acceptance that we have today. There are no “gay only” bathrooms, drinking faucets or entrances; gays aren’t relegated to sitting in the back of the bus or forced to say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” to their heterosexual equivalents. They aren’t being attacked by dogs, water hoses or lynched; nor are they having food and drink poured upon them as they attempt to order food at the counters of Woolworth stores. And thank God for that.
This isn’t to say that homosexuals haven’t endured any misfortune or suffering because it would be ridiculous to assert as much. But the sufferings of blacks and homosexuals though both being unfortunate are not equitable.
I hope the reader has noticed that during the course of discussing the issues that I believe are important regarding homosexual marriage, I have not made one single appeal to the religious as to why I disagree with homosexual marriage. I did so for a couple of reasons. One, I think the case against the redefinition of marriage can be made coherently aside from religion based upon the law and common sense. Two, homosexual marriage advocates tend to demonize and belittle people who appeal to religious reasons when they try and defend marriage. I think that tendency is absolutely shameful and wrong because people refer to and depend on their religious convictions all the time when making important decisions. Yet I wanted to discuss these issues in a rational fashion and not have them dismissed because of my religious beliefs.
To conclude, marriage as it is understood and has been understood throughout the course of human history has been between a man and woman (or women). Also, marriage is marriage, not “traditional marriage.” Homosexual marriage is not a basic “right,” a “constitutional right,” or a “civil right.” It also isn’t equitable to race. Homosexual marriage rightly understood would be a redefinition of marriage and it’s “legality” would be the creation of a new right that had not existed prior to its creation. In addition, its potential legality would also make other illegal relationships, legal, based on standards that government cannot and should not quantify.
Lastly, discussing these overlooked issues in a mature way, I feel that I have to say that being against homosexual marriage isn’t the same as being against homosexuals. Can one be against homosexuals and against homosexual marriage? Of course one can and many are. But not in this case. I am simply against redefining marriage based upon the emotional influence enveloping the issue and disregarding the law in the process.