A number of writers, me included, have been warning that the slopes really are slippery, and that the admission of something as radical as same sex mirage into any part of our political life is to introduce it everywhere. And yet, it has been surprising to see how fast the whole thing is moving. It appears that the incline of the slippery slopes has steepened, and we are now picking up a goodish bit of speed. Within weeks of the Supreme Court debacle on SSM, a federal judge has now ordered Ohio to recognize a homosexual mirage contracted in Maryland.
This shows that the federalist “live and let live” approach is a tactical sham. It is clearly all or nothing — all states recognizing same sex mirage as a basic civil rights issue, or none of them doing so. All right then, none it is.
What homosexual activists have been doing is insist that we redefine marriage, while pretending that all they are doing is expanding the opportunities for marriage to additional others. The problem is that as soon as they abandon the understanding of marriage as a covenanted conjugal relationship of a man and a woman, they have no consistent stopping point. Some of them don’t want a consistent stopping point, and others of them do — but they still can’t have one.
The biological act that consummates a marriage is the only act capable of reproducing our race. When a traditional marriage is infertile, this is an act of providence (or disobedience). When a homosexual union is infertile, this is something that is true by definition. And this means that the possibility of fruitfulness is removed (of necessity) from the definition of marriage.
But once you have done that, how are we to define it? Largely on the basis of inertia, some homosexuals (like Andrew Sullivan) want their (redefining) expansion of “marriage” to be limited to two people, to be romantic, to be sexual, etc. But why? They want to redefine, but not “too much.” But who is in charge of how much is too much? We may ask why two and only two. Lots of people in history (and in the present) have been polygamous. Why should it be romantic? Why can’t marriage be like the sale of a mule? And why sexual? Who says that orgasm is an essential part of this?
Liberals like uppity women in theory, on their bumper stickers, but detest them in real life. So here is a proposal for a couple of genuinely uppity women (who need to be sisters) living in a state that allows for same sex mirage. They need to get themselves down to the county courthouse and apply for a marriage license, letting the fact that they are sisters be known to the clerk. When they are denied, as they will be, they need to ask why. Because that would be incest, the reply will come. Their response should be two-fold.
First, they should say, if we were going to be incestuous, why would that be any business of the state? Since we as a culture have abandoned the moral arguments, the reply would have to be pragmatic — because of the possibility of birth defects. To which, the sisters should raise their eyebrows and inquire into how it is that a lesbian relationship could result in birth defects.
After they have flummoxed the clerk in this way, the second part of their response should be to reassure that longsuffering personage, to make up for their first line of argument. They should go on to assure the clerk that they are not lesbians at all, there is absolutely nothing sexual or romantic about their relationship at all. There would be no incest. “We are just sisters. And we want to be married.”
But marriage has to be sexual, the clerk would reply.
Does it? they would answer.
Well, yes, traditionally . . .
Traditionally? Like we care about that anymore?
In other words, once we have reduced the act of marriage to the act of choosing, and we have cast off all natural boundaries that would limit or constrict the content of such an act of choosing, we cannot rush in after the fact to constrict such acts of choosing. Two sisters can be married and their point of unity (as they have chosen it) will be their common love of knitting. Two fishing buddies can get married, and their point of contact is their common love for brown trout. But I am using that word “common” too much. Too restrictive. Under the new tyranny of the raw act of choosing, nothing would prevent two people from marrying, one in Massachusetts and one in Washington, whose one thing they share “in common” is the fact that they have never met each other, never want to, and are resolved to never exchange any email whatsoever.
One of Saul Alinsky’s great principles for radicals was that of making the enemy live up to his own rules. This really works when it is impossible to do so — as it is in this case. So I think that somebody’s Jane Austen reading group needs to get down to the courthouse and apply for a group license. Make them say no. Make them purvey some more of their hate.
“Make them purvey some more of their hate.”
How about their ‘point of unity’ being “married filing jointly” status.
These people are lost and hurting and afraid and angry; and in their vulnerable state fall prey to every ravenous wolf that offers a show of empathy and kindness. Why have the people of God been reduced to impotence before this tragedy? Why do lost lambs seek solace from wolves rather than shepherds? Have the shepherds been beating and starving them? But they are His sheep and He will seek them out yet. But woe to those of us who did not give them food at the appointed time. But He will forgive even this. People of God, the Lord… Read more »
When a traditional marriage is infertile, this is an act of providence (or disobedience)
I understand the providence part. One of them can’t have a kid for some physical reason. Do you mean by the disobedience part a lack of willingness of have children?
So –just to be clear — if through scientific advances it becomes possible for m/m and f/f marriages to reproduce sexually, Doug would be okay with such marriages?
(We’re not that far away from finding ways for same-sex couples to reproduce, by the way.)
“We’re not that far away from finding ways for same-sex couples to reproduce, by the way”
@delurking, I suppose you might be referring to the so-called research on altering stem cells to create either ‘female sperm’ or ‘male eggs’. Although all evidence thus far has pointed to such experimentation as disastrous and futile, even secular pragmatists would find issue with this morally. If their argument against incest, as Doug described, is to prevent birth defects, how much more would it be towards the numerous complications involved with stem cells?
Let’s suppose gay marriage gets passed by law. Would there be any reason why the church should acknowledge marriage(defined by state) as marriage?
If two co-habiting people were converted, would there be any reason to pursuade them to get married(state) rather than simply make covenant commitments to one another in the presence of God’s church = marriage(church)?
If two unmarried(state) Christians saw there were some useful tax breaks available if they were married(state) even if only for a few days, would there be any moral reason to stop them doing so?
“Why do lost lambs seek solace from wolves rather than shepherds?”
Vishwanath, you answered your own question:
“But they are His sheep and He will seek them out yet…”
Until such a time as God sees fit to give them a new heart they will not only eschew true sheperds, but they will continue to love their sin more than they love Jesus. It sounds like your view of fallen man is not so fallen.
Perhaps we can pray that by stripping the word marriage of meaning, it will one day become meaningful again…
Wonderful, sir, thank you very much for this post.
And, please, if anyone takes up the challenge in this post, please blog about it and send Rev Wilson the link. Remember, folks, don’t hide your light under the bushel!
I always wanted a sister. Until now.
The problem with reductios ad absurdum is that they rely on everyone agreeing that the reductio is actually absurd. Imagine if after you’ve made the case for your sister-lesbian marriage to the clerk he says “good point” and hands you a license. Everyone else chuckles a little and then quits caring, as they are wont to do. Then what are you left with? Homosexualists may not have a principle to limit marriage to two people, but in truth they don’t need one. All they have to do is just scoff at the suggestion. Maybe one day they’ll agree with it,… Read more »
There were supposed to be paragraphs in that blob. Incidentally, the federal judge here is wrong. Section 2 of DOMA still stands, and Ohio is not required to recognize gay marriages of other states.
Mr. Matt is right. You are battling with ineffectual weapons against people who ought not be considered enemies.
From a christian perspective, I concur with your logic completely (even though most ssm advocates brush it aside with scoff), but my confusion is how you jive this view with your staunch libertarianism? Free individuals should be unhindered to pursue their desires if it doesn’t strip the rights of others, no? As an admirer of your ministry, I must say this confuses me.
BJ: You must be new here. Doug is no staunch libertarian. And I say “Amen!”
excellent post….Christians need not give up on thinking and acting on this…also, if lesbians reproduce, its not that the kids will be confused about two parents….the confusion will be how many parents….there could be multiple biological and socially related parents, i.e. egg donor parents, birthing parents, womb rental parents, sperm donor parents, mitochondria genetically related parents etc etc…so whose child is it?
Matt, perhaps the value is in showing that the position is inherently unstable. They may not care about the two sisters, but at least until now, they have put a lot of freight on arguments that make the two sisters scenario problematic. Yet they would have us believe that their position is simple, sound and unproblematic.
That doesn’t mean you make the two sisters argument, and voila! The SSM position is demolished. But it is an attack on the stronghold.
I’m not aware of any tradition, law, or Biblical passage that *requires* that marriage be sexual. Not long ago I attended the marriage of two octegenarians who had met at a senior center; nobody had the bad manners to ask them if their marriage was going to be sexual, and if anyone does make assumptions, it’s that they’re looking for companionship. Handicapped people who are physically incapable of sex are nevertheless allowed to marry. The entire premise — that marriage must be sexual — is a false premise. But let’s grant the premise. Abraham married his sister, so what’s the… Read more »
I am new to this blog, so thank you for setting me straight about Doug’s (lack of) libertarianism. However, he has made comments before (at a forum about human sexuality) that he at least tends toward libertarianism. For me, at least, the ssm debate does pose a challenge for christians in that I’m not sure we should stand in someone’s way by using the force of government, though it is surely sinful. Coersion saves nobody from Hell. Anyway, I guess I have more work to do. Thanks for the correction.
Eric the Red,
Traditionally, marriages have to be consummated sexually to be valid. The two have to become one flesh, if you want a biblical tag to go with that tradition. Non-consummation has always considered to be valid grounds to dissolve a marriage (dissolve as in annul, the marriage never happened — distinct from divorce).
Johannes, it is not traditional. It is the law. If a marriage is not consentually sexually consumated, then it can legally be annulled on that grounds only.
Iohannes, so you’re telling me that octegenarians, who are interested in compansionship but not sex, can’t get married? Or quadriplegics who may be incapable of sexual congress, but who may also want companionship?
Even if you’re right, typically nobody asks couples if they’re having sex or not, so if a couple for whatever reason decides not to have sex, who is going to know about it? If one partner refuses to have sex, and the other seeks an annulment on that ground, that’s a different issue.
I am not telling you that, Eric the Red. There are some spirited octogenarians and we live in an age of wonders, including Viagra. What I am saying is that in legal terms (traditional ones, anyway — I think, Robert, that legalization of same-sex marriage puts the traditional precedent in doubt) an unconsummated marriage is regarded as never having occurred, and can be legally challenged on those grounds. Of course it’s nobody’s business to go poking around as to whether all marriages get consummated — the benefit of the doubt is extended quite sensibly here — but that does not… Read more »
>>The entire premise — that marriage must be sexual — is a false premise.
Do you honestly think there’d be an institution called marriage without sex? It seems, Eric, that the herring is red, too.