This article first appeared in the Viewpoint column of the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 37, number 05 (2014). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/
Is same-sex marriage really a “right”? If so, by what standard is it a right? Who said so and by what authority?
A right is something that a person has even if the majority of people disagree with it. In other words, rights are not based on human opinion but on an unchangeable authoritative standard beyond human opinion. That’s why human rights cannot exist unless God exists. Without God, everything is simply a matter of personal preference.
Some say, “Our laws are the basis for rights!” No, they are not. Human laws can only recognize God-given rights—they are not their ultimate justification. To claim otherwise would be to admit that your “rights” would vanish if a majority of humans or a dictator changed the law. No advocate of same-sex marriage would agree with that. In fact, those advocates are arguing that in states where the majority is against same-sex marriage, they still have a right to it. They are correct if same-sex marriage is actually a right. But since when does God consider same-sex marriage a right?
Forget about the “separation of church and state” objection. It doesn’t apply here. We are not establishing a religion through our laws. But we are protecting moral rights through our laws, which is what good laws are supposed to do (all laws legislate a moral position). Our founders didn’t demand adherence to any particular religious denomination, but they recognized that our moral rights come from the Creator and founded the country on “Nature’s Law” consistent with Christianity. Nature’s Law (which Jefferson said is “self-evident”) says that the natural design of the human body and the natural procreative abilities of the man and the woman serve to perpetuate and stabilize society, which same- sex behavior cannot achieve. Therefore, there is a right to “natural” marriage, but no right to same-sex marriage. That’s not bigotry, that’s biology.1
The Religious “Right.” Homosexual activists say we’re wrong. But we can’t be “wrong” unless there is a real standard of “right” from which we deviate. So we should ask same-sex marriage advocates, “What’s your standard? Who said same-sex marriage is a ‘right’? You and your friends? That’s not a right. That’s an opinion. You’re calling it a right, but you’re stealing the grounding of rights from God and then misapplying it to your own personal preferences.” There is no grounding in the God of Nature’s Law for same-sex marriage.
Of course, without God there is no right to natural marriage either! In other words, no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on—no matter how passionate you believe in certain causes or rights—without God, they aren’t really rights at all. Human rights amount to no more than your subjective preferences. So liberals can believe in and fight for same-sex marriage, but they can’t justify it as truly being a right without reference to the Creator. If they do reference the Creator, then they have the rationally dubious task of arguing that God affirms same-sex marriage.
“But what about equality?” they say. Absent God, they have no grounding for “equality” either. What objective standard justifies “equality” or anything else as a right if there is no God? Yet even if you grant a right to “equality,” all people—whether they have homosexual or heterosexual desires—already have equal rights under the law. Every human being has the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Homosexual activists want the additional right to marry someone of the same sex, but even they limit the definition of marriage. Many homosexual activists want to limit the definition of marriage in such a way so groups cannot marry. Why are they so “bigoted” to rule out groups and other arrangements they disapprove of? The same logic that seeks to justify same-sex marriage—“I should be able to marry whomever I love”—can be used to justify any preferred arrangement.
The truth is, everyone puts limits on marriage. If marriage had no limits, it wouldn’t mean anything. Unlike liberals, conservatives have more than a mere preference for their limits. The long-held view that marriage is limited to one man and one woman is rooted in Nature’s Law in accord with the facts of nature. Again, that’s not bigotry—that’s biology.
Genderless Marriage. Since same-sex marriage and natural marriage are different behaviors that result in different outcomes, they should not be treated equally. The law must treat people equally (which it already does) but not their behaviors. When the law treats these different behaviors equally, the cultural understanding of marriage changes and everyone, especially children, gets hurt.
The law is a great teacher. It shapes opinions and behaviors for generations to come. Wherever same-sex marriage becomes law, the public doesn’t come to see two types of marriage—natural and same-sex. It comes to understand that marriage is gender- less. In other words, by dropping the gender requirement, the law helps teach society that marriage is a genderless institution merely about the romantic desires of adults and nothing about the needs of children. Well, if marriage isn’t about the needs of children, then what institution is about children? Do we really think we can divorce children from marriage and avoid negative consequences?
We can’t. In fact, we’ve been experiencing negative consequences since no-fault divorce laws passed in the 1970s. Those laws make dissolving a family too easy and should be repealed. They also help teach people that marriage is only about the desires of adults, not the needs of children. If marriage is all about my happiness and not the needs of children, then I should get divorced if I’m not “happy.” The law is teaching me that if the romance is gone, I should move on. No wonder families break up at alarming rates, and children are damaged in the process. Making marriage genderless through same-sex marriage will further hurt children by annihilating their connection to marriage completely.
True, not all marriages result in children. But only those between a man and a woman can have children and then provide a mother and father for them. Unfortunately, same-sex couples always deny children in their care either a mother or a father.
The Intolerance of “Tolerance.” But it’s not just children who are getting hurt. So are those who think marriage should not be changed. As liberal TV personality Bill Maher put it, there is a “gay mafia” out there who “whacks” anyone who disagrees with them. And if you fail to celebrate this new invented right (which is now being imposed through activist judges), you will be punished as a heretic. Florists, bakers, photographers, real estate agents, Internet CEOs,2 and speakers like myself3 have all discovered personally that the people who say they are fighting for “tolerance” are often the most intolerant. In the name of “inclusion and diversity,” those of us who have a diverse view are being excluded because we don’t exhibit lock-step conformity to their intolerant agenda. We are being fired for our political views—views that are firmly rooted in the biological facts of nature. Is this still America?
As headlines nearly every day affirm, there’s a growing clash between real rights and the new, invented right of same-sex marriage. Can anyone see any middle ground between (1) you must celebrate my same-sex marriage, and (2) God or my conscience prevents me from doing so? There is none. So which “right” will take precedence: the real right or the invented right?
According to those fighting for “tolerance,” your real right must give way to those who demand that you affirm their lifestyle. That isn’t tolerance. That’s totalitarianism. Conform or else.
Jesus loved sinners, which is why He wouldn’t affirm their sin. Neither can Christians. If we celebrate harmful behavior, despite any good intentions, we are actually being unloving. Love requires we tell people the truth, even if they don’t like it.
In fact, if you are upset with me for the thoughts I’ve expressed here, it means that, in an important sense, you agree with me. If you don’t like the behaviors and ideas I am advocating here, you are admitting that all behaviors and ideas are not equal—that some are closer to the real objective moral truth than others. But what is the source of that objective moral truth? It can’t be you or me. It can only be God—the ground of Nature’s Law.
Since no one can show that same-sex marriage is a right according to Nature’s Law (the only objective standard), the “gay mafia” resorts to the tactics of intimidation to silence and punish dissenters. They can’t win using sustained reason and arguments. Therefore, they chant fallacious slogans and charge people with heresy by labeling them “bigots” and “homophobes.”4
Did you think heresy was only a concern of traditional religion? The religion of liberals is no more liberal than that of the most rabid fundamentalist church, which is why liberals have not only stolen rights from God but also heresy.
Now the real heresy Christians must avoid is abandoning the truth and the gospel in the face of social pressure. The ignorance and apathy of the church has allowed society to destroy its most foundational institution. Only a courageous and obedient church can rebuild it for the good of everyone.
Frank Turek is an author, speaker, and founder of www.CrossExamined.org. He hosts “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” on Wednesday and Saturday nights on the NRB Network (DirecTV channel 378). His forthcoming book is Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case (NavPress, 2015).
- See the video page at CrossExamined.org for a video titled, “Should Marriage Be Changed to Promote Same-Sex Couples?” (Also called, “Marriage=Biology Not Bigotry.”)
- See Ryan T. Anderson and Leslie Ford, “Bake Us a Cake, or Else!” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/371329/bake-us-cake-or-else-ryan-t-anderson-leslie- ford; see also Frank Turek, “Freedom: Another Casualty of the Gay Agenda,” http://www.christianpost.com/news/freedom-another-casualty-of-the-gay-agenda-103184/.
- I was fired as a training consultant from both Cisco and Bank of America for having written a book three years earlier titled, Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone (CrossExamined, 2008). See my column titled “Sex at Work?” http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2011/06/28/sex_at_work/page/full.
- As G. K. Chesterton pointed out, “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” See my column, “Who Are the Real Gay Bigots and Bullies,” http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2011/08/26/who_are_the_real_gay_bigots_and_bullies/page/full.