At the most basic level, marriage and its offshoot, the family, are based on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman. It is a union in fact, not just in form, based on a conjugal sexual act that unites the man and wife in a bond that includes every level of their being: biological, physical, emotional, mental, mystical, and spiritual. It is the primary reason we maintain that homosexual relationships, even if granted marital status by secular law, can never be legitimate marriages, or even unions, in concept or in fact.
—Illinois Family Institute—
Key point: Nature clearly defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Refusing to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, therefore, isn’t arbitrarily discriminating against gays or denying them equality; rather, it is upholding reality and rejecting a lie.
You can view summaries of all the articles in this series here.
Recently we’ve been highlighting a number of myths that led to the imposition of same-sex marriage in the United States by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. Remember that a myth is a falsehood that is widely believed and accepted as true. To see what myths we’ve discussed thus far, go here. In this article, we will highlight two more.
A myth is a falsehood that is widely believed and accepted as true.
Myth #12: All discrimination is bad and must be criminalized.
Fact: Discrimination based on prejudicial factors such as race with the clear intent of mistreating certain individuals or groups has no place in a civilized society. Accordingly, such discrimination should be, and in many cases has been, outlawed. However, not all discrimination is wrong or harmful. Some discriminatory actions are appropriate and even needed. Indeed, these actions are based on rational, clear-headed, and constructive thinking.
People and societies discriminate all the time, and they do so legitimately. Truck drivers are required to have commercial drivers’ licenses, and rightly so. If you don’t have one, don’t expect a trucking company to consider hiring you. Editors, writers, and journalists also must be skilled in their lines of work; you wouldn’t expect a news organization to hire as a journalist someone who couldn’t write. Furthermore, patients waiting to see a doctor in an emergency room have a right to assume the hospital discriminated against unqualified applicants to fill ER positions! All of this is discrimination. But—and here’s the important point—it isn’t arbitrary discrimination.
Consider one more example. Should a white actor have been considered for the main role in 42, the 2013 film about the life, challenges, and accomplishments of baseball superstar Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play on a Major League team? Of course not! It was right and even expected that Robinson would be portrayed by a black actor, and no one was wrong to discriminate against white actors when casting the part.1 Chadwick Boseman, who currently can be seen in the Marvel superhero film Black Panther, landed the role.
Why Limiting Marriage to One Man and One Woman Isn’t Wrong or Bigoted
In their book Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, authors Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet affirm the legitimacy of discrimination with regard to the meaning of natural marriage:
Societies always privilege some relationships to qualify as marriage, while they discriminate against others. The distinctions made between relationships can either be based on essential qualities or on arbitrary qualities. Distinctions based on essential qualities are not made in order to insult or trivialize the quality or sincerity of a couple’s love and devotion for one another. Rather, distinctions based on essential qualities are those that are made between certain relationships that qualify as marriage and other that don’t. They are based on the sort of unique relationship marriage is and the purpose it alone serves.2
McDowell and Stonestreet go on to contrast this kind of discrimination to the Jim Crow laws that prohibited interracial marriage. We had our own discussion about this in a previous article. These distinctions were arbitrary because they were racist. In other words, they were based on the subjective assumption that certain people, because of the color of their skin (an irrefutably immutable trait with which they had been born), were less valuable than others.
Not all discrimination based on sex is wrong, either. The two male authors aren’t offended that they can’t become official members of MOPS—an organization for mothers of preschoolers. And they’re also perfectly OK with not being given a senior citizen discount at McDonalds when they purchase coffee. Why? Because they haven’t yet reached the age to qualify for it. These distinctions, they point out, are not arbitrary; nor are they arbitrarily applied. If senior discounts were given to everyone, they wouldn’t be senior discounts at all!3
This is the point about marriage. A “marriage” isn’t really a marriage unless it involves a man and a woman—one member of each of the two sexes. If two men or two women are involved, the relationship can’t be a marriage, no matter how many times it is called one and no matter how long government and society pretend it is one. The longer a society pretends, the greater the price it will have to pay.
Myth #13: Equality for gays with regard to marriage will be achieved only when discrimination preventing gays from marrying each other is eliminated.
Fact: Natural marriage itself treats everyone equally. Allowing two men or two women to “marry” creates, not equality, but a lie that will exact a heavy cost from society, especially its children.
In June of 2013 after the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Pastor Wes McAdams wrote,
If a man is a homosexual, either in the sense of having homosexual attractions or in the sense of having had practiced homosexuality, there are no laws against him getting married—to a woman. A homosexual man has the exact same rights as a heterosexual man; they both have the right to marry a woman. Likewise for women, there is total equality. All women have the right to marry a man. I am not being flippant about this issue. Like it or not, that is the definition of equality.…
McAdams goes on to name some relationships that don’t qualify as a marriage—a person and an animal, a person and an inanimate object, and, yes, two men or two women. He continues,
But why? Why can’t our government call the union of any two (or more) entities a “marriage”? Because the government didn’t create the institution of marriage; God did. God has simply given the government—for the good of society—the authority to regulate marriage (Romans 13:1-7). So, because the government did not create marriage, it has no right to define it; God has already defined it.
As we said in a previous post, natural, man-woman marriage affirms everything about what it means to be a human being. Same-sex “marriage,” however,
doesn’t just distort that affirmation; it eliminates it—because if two men or two women can marry each other and have exactly what one man and one woman married to each other have (this notion obviously is a lie), marriage has nothing to do with gender, procreation, children, fatherhood, motherhood, male-female dynamics in a relationship, or anything else that truly makes marriage what it is, and that makes being a human being what he or she is. Marriage, after all, is is unique among human beings. It is unknown in the animal kingdom!
My next statement will offend some people. I mean no offense, only to convey the truth. State laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman didn’t keep legitimate marriages from occurring; they kept counterfeit marriages from taking place.
State laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman didn’t keep legitimate marriages from occurring; they kept counterfeit ones from taking place.
The Obergefell ruling equates counterfeit marriages with the real thing.
Obergefell essentially says that
1 man + 1 woman
1 man + 1 man
1 woman + 1 woman.
This absolutely cannot be true. This article highlights ten ways the assertions and implications of Obergefell deny reality. Just as treating counterfeit money as real money exacts a price—even when this happens out of ignorance—so too does treating counterfeit marriages as real. Mark it down! Sometimes the most innocent among us are the hardest hit. It’s especially hard on the children of same-sex couples. Through no fault of their own, they are out either a mother or a father as a result of the very nature of their parents’ “marriages.”
An Illustration from Science
An instructive example comes from the field of chemistry. I readily acknowledge that other examples from chemistry could be used to argue against my point, so the illustration has some limitations. Even so, it is extremely helpful for us, because it so clearly illustrates what marriage is and what it cannot be. This presentation begins with the words, “Another type of bond—” but remember that this chemical reaction is demonstrating “one type of bond” among human beings that has no equal.
The ionic bond between an atom of sodium and an atom of chlorine creates a molecule of salt.
- We don’t call two atoms of sodium salt, because they’re not!
- Nor do we call two atoms of chlorine salt. They’re not, either!
- Yet, when an atom of sodium and an atom of chlorine come together, their innate chemical properties create a reaction that gives sodium a charge of + 1, and chlorine a charge of – 1. These opposite charges bring the two atoms together to form a compound that is an altogether different substance than either sodium or chlorine. Sodium chloride is salt.
Do you see the point? Of course, not just any man and any woman will marry—but when a man and a woman come together in marriage, their inherent differences serve to establish a bond that is altogether different from any relationship that two men or two women can have between themselves. A new kind of relationship is created; a new family begins.
This video comes even closer to presenting our analogy. It highlights a few aspects of this chemical bond that don’t parallel marriage, but overall, in the most basic of ways, it shows how it does.
So you see, marriage is what it is because it is what it is inherently. Discriminating against same-sex couples by saying their relationships don’t qualify as marriages is not discriminating arbitrarily, but purposefully, in accord with what nature teaches.
What are some things that can happen when government seeks to overrule nature’s definition of marriage? How bad can it get? The myth we will consider next time will give us an opportunity to address these questions.
Be sure to return.
Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.
1David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, gets credit for this example.
2,3Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet, Same-Sex Marriage: Athoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, (Grand Rapids, Baker Publishing Group, 2014), 26.